The leaders in the reverse mortgage industry are committed to increasing the focus on diversity and inclusion, both within corporate governance and among customers in the reverse mortgage industry, to better serve the growing interest in the product category versus the marketplace to be the last few years.
It does this at both the industry association and customer level, according to industry leaders who spoke last month during an executive committee meeting at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) Virtual Policy Conference.
RMD also reached out to one of the co-chairs of a new committee set up by the trade association to briefly discuss what the industry is aiming to achieve and what potential impact such a focus could have on the reverse mortgage business.
Trade association efforts
At a meeting of the NRMLA Executive Committee held at the Virtual Policy Conference, NRMLA board member and Longbridge Financial CEO Chris Mayer discussed creating a new committee in the association that is just beginning to take shape around diversity and Inclusion to expand the industry and its customer base.
“We set up a new committee this year to increase diversity and inclusion in our membership and leadership,” said Mayer. “As business and government focus on racial justice and include all people, regardless of gender or race, we as an industry need to address these issues both in our organizations and in our work.”
The new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee will be co-chaired by Patty Wills, National Reverse Mortgage Sales Director at Open Mortgage, and Misha Hill, Customer Experience Specialist Team Leader at Finance of America Reverse (FAR). Along with a greater emphasis on racial equality that is evident in government and in today’s economy, Mayer briefly discussed the reverse mortgage industry’s more specific efforts to gain access to the products and services it provides to a wider segment of the population expand.
“I know many of us work every day to ensure that all groups and communities have broad access to reverse mortgages,” he said. “This is something that we as an industry really need to think about and NRMLA has been looking into these issues. And we will do more in that regard. “
One of the goals of the new committee is to serve as a channel for industrial companies looking to add a higher level of inclusivity to corporate culture, according to the association’s website, which outlines the new committee’s mission.
“NRMLA will be an executive for reverse mortgage companies interested in promoting a corporate culture that encompasses diversity, equity and inclusion,” the association’s website states.
NRMLA President Steve Irwin wrote an update for members of the association in the May-June 2021 issue of the NRMLA publication “Reverse Mortgage” about the introduction of the new committee, in which it was made clear that efforts to get the committee started immediately . He described group members as having “palpable” energy levels while realizing that some “difficult conversations” might be ahead. However, this does not affect the “exciting path” he sees for the club and the committee in the future.
The customer side, business advantages
In a question-and-answer portion of the Executive Committee meeting, one participant asked if the goal of greater diversity and inclusion is shared in both the business and customer sides of the reverse mortgage industry, and Irwin said it was the case is.
“That is our goal,” said Irwin on the podium in April. “[Our goal] It is important that our memberships encompass, speak to, recognize and name our efforts to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive association and industry. “
DEI Co-Chair Patty Wills discussed how a wider level of diversity and inclusion can already be included in the proverbial “toolkit” of reverse mortgage professionals as the primary demographic of seniors in the product category for Other people can often be difficult with the wider business world to connect with. Additionally, many reverse mortgage professionals already find themselves in their communities to connect with as many different types of people as possible.
“Many of us have spent years going to our communities, people’s homes, and meeting people from all walks of life,” Wills told RMD in an interview. “We strive for total diversity among our customers and it is very instructive to get involved.”
Ultimately, it also makes good business sense for the industry to try and expand its proverbial “umbrella” and reach out to as many different types of people as possible, she says.
“I think it’s good for business,” she says. “I think the fact that it’s good for business helps us look at our mission statement and put it together. [We always have to ask] Wherever business is going, and all of that involves harnessing everyone’s skills. It is important that we do that. “
The stated goal for the reverse mortgage industry to become more diverse and inclusive is also in line with the stated priorities of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ), three government agencies that have direct relationships with the reverse mortgage industry at various levels.
Since President Joe Biden’s inauguration and the endorsement of HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, addressing racial inequality has officially been a stated political priority of the new administration and the goals of Fudge’s HUD.
In addition, incumbent CFPB director Dave Uejio is serving as presidential candidate Rohit Chopra waiting Confirmation of the Senate – has declared his wish to identify patterns and highlight inequalities that the Bureau can observe in its work.