Diversity Conference Highlights Critical Business Opportunities

Article excerpt

The future of the mortgage industry will rely to a significant degree on the ability of mortgage lenders to serve those customers who have traditionally counted as underserved, according to a consensus of mortgage industry leaders.

Speaking at the Second Annual Mortgage Lending Industry Diversity and Emerging Markets and Career Fair in Arlington, Virginia, in late September, Daniel H. Mudd, Fannie Mae's president and chief executive officer, noted that the path to business success will be found by firms that help to improve minority homeownership.

Mudd noted that three factors have contributed to the existence of an underserved market: language, cultural barriers and a "baffling" home-buying process.

"There's a growing market that's vastly underserved, and a market that we would ignore at the peril of this industry," said Mudd. "Over the coming years, those who would succeed the most in the mortgage industry will be those who figure out how to reach out and how to serve and to get the best deal possible in a market that is becoming more diverse every single day."

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Demographically speaking, outgoing MBA Chairman Regina Lowrie, CMB, noted that almost no growth is expected in the white population in the United States, but analysts expect a 213 percent growth in the Asian-American population and a 188 percent growth in the Hispanic-American population.

"The housing and mortgage industries can capitalize on these market shifts by intensifying outreach to Hispanics, Asians and African-American households," said Lowrie. "This will mean paying closer attention to the diversity of the work force and adding employees fluent in other languages. …