Racial equity in the mortgage biz goes beyond “fancy galas”

HW+ expanding homeonership

If last year gave rise to a slew of announcements of initiatives to address issues of racial equity, now is the time to give force to those promises.

Laura Brandao, president and partner of American Financial Resources, Tai Christensen, director of government affairs and chief diversity and inclusion officer at CBC Mortgage Agency and Montell Watson, director of corporate strategy at Movement Mortgage, took the stage at HousingWire Annual in Frisco, Texas to offer some “practical tips” for mortgage lenders to narrow the racial homeownership gap.

Lenders can start by hiring from a more diverse pool of talent. Christensen and Watson also advised against seeing racial equity as only a cause to donate money to, instead of enacting meaningful change in hiring and business practices.

“If you’re just donating dollars you’re not really doing anything,” said Christensen. “What are you doing to work toward equity? The time of the fancy galas and fundraisers is over.”

Helping to rebuild the relationship with communities that had their equity wiped out in the Great Recession won’t be easy. “There’s a lot of trauma for people of color from being told no for so long,” Watson said.

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