The Mortgage Bankers Association announced the winners of its first annual Diversity and Inclusion awards. Companies were recognized in two different categories: Organizational Diversity and Inclusion and Market Outreach Strategies.
“These awards recognize the importance of embracing a diverse and inclusive real estate finance industry,” said MBA Chairman Rodrigo López, CMB, executive chairman of NorthMarq Capital and the previous Chairman of MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Ballard Spahr and SunTrust Mortgage won for organizational diversity and inclusion, while The PrivateBank and Trust Company won for market outreach strategies.
Seven other companies were recognized as honorable mentions. Colorado Housing Finance Authority, Envoy Mortgage, and Pulte, LLC were recognized for Organizational Diversity, while Mountain West Financial, Inc., New American Funding, PrimeLending and Radian Guaranty, Inc. were recognized for Market Outreach.
Company initiatives were scored by two groups of judges made up of members of MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and MBA staff.
The companies were scored based on: the quality of their overall submission; identification of a target audience and annual goals; demonstration of a tangible benefit to participants and the overall enterprise; replicability of the program; innovative program approaches; and program success in broadening the culture of the organization through the values of diversity and inclusion.
Highlights of each of the winners' initiatives include:
- The firm partners with affinity-based law student organizations across the country to support a pipeline of law students entering the legal profession.
- In 2016 Firm Chair Mark Stewart was named the recipient of the Associated Black Charities’ Change Agents Award. This award recognizes leaders in the effort to bring greater diversity to the legal profession.
- The firm is ranked by the National Law Journal’s Women in Law Rankings as one of the top law firms for female attorneys in the nation.
- In 2015 and 2016, the firm was named one of the top 100 law firms for female attorneys by Law360.
- SunTrust launched new recruitment programs for recent college graduates and others who want to begin a successful career in mortgage banking. The company also created professional development opportunities for diverse teammates, with the long-term goal of expanding diversity in the management and leadership of the business, and to leverage employee outreach to better build bridges among diverse communities and potential homebuyers in these markets.
- SunTrust has increased their recruitment of diverse candidates, with 68% of its most recent incoming class being diverse candidates.
- SunTrust also increased the engagement of diverse teammates by 11% in 2016.
The PrivateBank and Trust Company:
- The PrivateBank and Trust Company developed safe, affordable portfolio loan products to serve low-to-moderate income customers and engaged with a new minority-owned vendor to sustain outreach and awareness in minority areas.
- It also created a closing-cost assistance program that provides up to $2,500 to all low and moderate income borrowers and increased the ethnic minority composition of its sales force to 30%.
- The company committed $10 million over five years to the Chicago Affordable Housing Program with already almost $1 million invested in needy communities and provided $1.1 million in closing cost assistance in 2015.
“MBA received an overwhelming amount of submissions to our inaugural awards, and faced a difficult challenge in selecting from a strong pool of applicants. We are pleased to see so many companies dedicating resources and efforts towards these important issues,” Lopez said.