Recently, industries across the board have been called upon to diversify from the top down. Vendor Resource Management dba VRM Mortgage Services (VRM) embraced the opportunity to embed diversity and inclusion across all business segments but also to expand the idea of what diversity is and how to deepen inclusion, leading to increased revenue and an enhanced client experience.
Twice named one of the Top 25 Best Places To Work For Women And Minorities by The National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA), VRM is the leading service provider of real estate and mortgage solutions.
From asset management, servicing coordination, property preservation and guiding investors to maximize recovery on foreclosures to expert default management – VRM hosts an efficient, scalable and cost-effective infrastructure that can support clients of all sizes, including investors, government agencies and financial institutions.
VRM founder Keith D. Murray noticed the industry needed a company committed to preserving communities in every aspect of real estate servicing. As a result, VRM was established and has grown into the VRM Real Estate Alliance to provide community-centric solutions.
“VRM is a solutions provider and customizes services to resolve client-specific pain points, while helping to preserve communities,” Murray said. “Using businesses located within communities is one approach VRM uses to ensure this happens.”
TEAM WORK EQUALS SCALE
VRM is an industry leader in actively pursuing diverse businesses to participate in the VRM ecosystem. To provide full-scale solutions and manage the life-cycle of an asset, VRM developed and utilizes a high-performing and diverse vendor base.
Quite expansive, the VRM vendor network is capable of covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.The VRM vendor network model also creates an environment for small and diverse companies to thrive. VRM collaborates with VRM University (VRMU) to create and offer training courses, ensuring the vendor panel is well equipped to deliver excellent service in all areas. Training also allows these suppliers to expand their own sustainability, service offerings and clientele.
THINK GLOBAL, GO LOCAL
While the VRM vendor network exponentially expands the reach and speed of services, VRM is intentional in using their preferred “go-local” model versus large national subcontractors.
The philosophy is that because most vendors work where they live, they are as committed as VRM is to mitigating community blight, a particular mission of Murray’s. Further underscoring VRM’s commitment to supporting diverse, small businesses, this model also allows sourcing of local vendors in rural areas.
VRM continuously sources to enlarge the vendor network by recruiting via industry advocacy groups, as well as identifying vendors and suppliers registered with certifying authorities, including but not limited to: The Small Business Administration, Center for Veterans Enterprise, Minority Owned Business, Veteran-Owned Business, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, Small Disadvantaged Business (includes Section 8(a)) and Woman-Owned and Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Zone.
Surpassing all benchmarks with the mission in mind, since 2017, VRM has achieved 240% of its subcontracting goal for engaging veteran-owned small businesses and exceeded government-established thresholds for subcontracting small, women-owned, small- disadvantaged, hub-zone and service-disabled businesses.
Beyond a vision, VRM’s numbers show that diversity and inclusion is a priority. Leadership asserts that this approach will continue to remain as a foundational strategy in VRM’s future.
VRM REAL ESTATE ALLIANCE (VRMREA)
VRM recently launched a concept they say will stabilize neighborhoods and support veterans, all while increasing business opportunities for companies of varying sizes that vie for their share of the multi-trillion-dollar mortgage and Financial Services Industry.
VRM Real Estate Alliance (VRMREA) is a community of companies in partnership to deliver services as well as key philanthropic events. Murray said the VRM Real Estate Alliance benefits both the community and business partners because solutions to each segments’ concerns are built into all of VRMREA’s processes.
The VRM Real Estate Alliance includes Murray’s family of companies with a 35-year industry track record, including PCV Murcor, VRM Mortgage Services, High Tide Settlement Services and Vendor Resource Management Investor Insurance.
As of September 2019, investors can secure insurance for real estate purchases through Vendor Resource Management Investor Insurance Agency (VRMIIA) and its online portal.
VRM’s expansion to include VRMIIA was born from VRM responding to multiple communities impacted by disasters and learning directly from investors that they were finding themselves underinsured in times of crisis. This new product further supports VRM’s commitment to preserving communities and being a top-down solutions and service provider.
THE BUSINESS OF PHILANTROPHY
Murray believes business and philanthropy go hand in hand. VRM hosts a veteran’s engagement program to diversify the organization’s demographics, including diversity from a cultural and experiential perspective.
The corporation with a conscience, VRM has invested a staggering nearly $100 million in veteran-owned businesses since 2012. VRM also proactively seeks veterans for its vendor network and partners with organizations to recruit veterans for internships and full-time employment at its corporate headquarters.
An additional effort in diversity and inclusion, VRM sponsors The Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS) and its annual event, The National Financial Services Expo. The 4th National FinServ Expo will be held June 24-25, 2020, in the DFW Metroplex. CIFS is a nonprofit organization committed to financial literacy and educating financial professionals on the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion.
LIVING THE MISSION
VRM takes an organizational approach to leading by example in the diversity and inclusion space. The company leadership has implemented a diversity and inclusion strategy within the organization.
Led by company management at varying levels and incorporated into the everyday workings of VRM, the strategy is executed to ensure internal processes align with VRM’s overall diversity and inclusion goals.
While diverse hiring practices naturally come to mind when thinking of a corporate diversity and inclusion strategy, VRM leadership has taken a deeper approach. In addition to keeping diversity and inclusion at the core of processes for diverse hiring, internal efforts also include training and operational practices, as well as awareness education about diversity and inclusion, bias, conflict management, emotional intelligence and effective communication.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND ENGAGEMENT
VRM believes in a holistic approach to supporting communities, and training is included.
Company leadership believes that the financial services industry has a responsibility to support and educate communities on the financial services industry and how products and services are best utilized in their everyday lives as consumers.
VRM and its internal team of experts conduct multiple events each calendar year to engage and educate communities. The events are free to the public. Community engagement events include an annual financial services diversity career fair, educational webinars and financial community support.
To VRM, the idea of community doesn’t end with customers. With a desire to support its community of colleagues and the entire financial services industry, VRM offers a free diversity and inclusion self- assessment to other organizations so that they can increase awareness of their organizational state of diversity and inclusiveness. VRM also notes the business case for diversity and inclusion, and says this awareness will lead to better practices and ultimately a better bottom line. The goal is to reach diversity and inclusion across the industry.
From full-scale business solutions to education and training, solid diversity and inclusion practices, and a clear mission that drives it all, VRM is positioned to continue its impact as a leading service provider of real estate and mortgage solutions—perhaps the most intentionally diverse and inclusive one, at that.
“We saw the need for a 360-degree solution to industry challenges, while equipping businesses to thrive in the most diverse environment our country has ever seen,” Murray said. “We are rising to meet that need.”