MBA pushes to increase diversity in mortgage lending

Announces partnership with NAHREP, hosting 2nd diversity conference

Citing the impending shift in the country’s demographics, the Mortgage Bankers Association is taking a leadership role in preparing the mortgage industry for the future.

In an exclusive interview with HousingWire, Bill Emerson, the chairman-elect of the trade group and the chief executive officer of Quicken Loans, said that the MBA wants to prepare the housing finance industry for the new normal of the future, which will be far different than the history of mortgage lending to this point.

“One of the key issues moving forward is household formation and creation of households,” Emerson told HousingWire recently.

“If you look out into the future, 50% of the nation’s home creation is going to happen in the minority,” Emerson continued. “There will be 17 million new households from now to 2025 and 12 million of those will be from people of color. In 2025, the minority will be the majority.”

Additionally, HousingWire spoke to Emerson about the MBA’s second annual Strategic Markets and Diversity Summit, which will be held this year from June 24-25 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

Emerson said that the goal of the diversity conference is to initiate a dialogue with leaders in the industry to prepare them for the coming shift in demographics.

“Watching demographics change is a smart thing for the industry to do,” Emerson told HousingWire. “It’s key to understand the business implications of the changing demographics. We want to bring business leaders from the industry together to discuss diversity. We hope to have a dialogue about changing the way we look at things.”

Emerson said that understanding tomorrow’s borrower is key for everyone in the housing industry.

Emerson said that the MBA has three goals for the conference: to educate attendees that they need to recruit talented people from diverse backgrounds; to help the industry understand the country’s changing demographics over the next 15 years; and to ask people to consider how they allocate business to vendors and encourage them to have more diverse suppliers.

“By recruiting talented folks from diverse backgrounds, your business will represent the homebuyer of the future,” Emerson said.

“We also want to encourage companies to use women and minority-owned businesses as vendors,” Emerson said. “We’re planning on collecting a list of women and minority-owned businesses. It helps us to understand what’s going on throughout the country. We want to make it available for all members of the MBA. We want to have knowledge of that supplier base. It’s a good business practice to have more than one option as a vendor.”

Emerson said that given his company’s position in the industry and its geographic position, Quicken is ready for the future as well.

“At Quicken, we’re in all 50 states and every market. We want to be ahead of the curve in the shift in demographics,” Emerson said. “We live and work and play in the city of Detroit. We understand what it means to be in a diverse city and have a diverse workforce. It’s important for our folks to be out in the community.”

Emerson said that one of the big things that Quicken focuses on now is the impact the Hispanic borrower will have on the housing market in the future.

“One of the big things we think about is, how can we change our business process for Hispanic borrowers?,” Emerson said. “We already have bilingual speakers available to borrowers throughout the entire loan process.”

To that end, the MBA also announced a partnership with the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals that will see the two organizations work together to advance NAHREP's goal of advancing sustainable Hispanic homeownership and MBA's goal of offering training and education to prospective and current mortgage professionals.

“The American Dream, to own your own home, is embraced by more people, from more backgrounds, than ever before,” David Stevens, president and CEO of the MBA said. “And yet real challenges remain for many Americans, especially first-time homebuyers, the self-employed, and new Americans, to access credit. To serve our diverse customers, the real estate finance industry needs a diverse workforce. I’m proud of this new partnership with NAHREP and I am confident it will help members of both organizations better serve their clients.”

NAHREP and MBA share an interest in increasing the number of Latinos employed within the housing finance industry as part of an overall effort to increase access to homeownership for Latinos, the organizations said in a release.

NAHREP said that as part of its Hispanic Wealth Project, it established a goal to double the number of Latinos employed in housing finance over the next 10 years.

“The housing industry needs a workforce that reflects today's diverse home buyer population." said Gary Acosta, NAHREP co-founder and CEO, “There are incredible career opportunities in real estate finance and the Mortgage Bankers Association is doing some of the most innovative work in attracting new entrants into the industry. In support of its mission to advance sustainable Hispanic homeownership, NAHREP is delighted to partner with the MBA to help introduce the mortgage business to Latinos and other growing populations."

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