MBA Announces 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Residential Leadership Award Winners

October 23, 2022 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Press Release Residential


Falen Taylor

(202) 557-2771

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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) today announced here at its 2022 Annual Convention & Expo that six companies have been recognized as 2022 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Residential Leadership Award recipients. The annual awards recognize MBA members for their leadership efforts in DEI in three award categories: organizational DEI, market outreach strategies, and non-lender.

“Now in its seventh year, MBA’s Residential DEI Leadership Awards continue to highlight the ‘best of the best’ in DEI programs in the real estate finance industry,” said Matt Rocco, 2023 MBA Chairman, and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Grandbridge Real Estate Capital. “This year’s DEI Leadership Award winners have gone above and beyond in creating a more diverse and inclusive environment at their respective organizations and in the communities they serve. I am honored to present each of them with this prestigious award.”

This year's submissions were reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of members of MBA's DEI Committee and MBA staff. The companies were broken into two groups, based on an overall number of employees, then were scored by 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, and the replicability of the program. Innovative program approaches and potential success in broadening the culture of the organization through the values of DEI were also considered.

The six 2022 DEI Residential Leadership Award winners are:

Organizational DEI Award: New American Funding and Embrace Home Loans

The Organizational DEI Award celebrates company initiatives that were specifically developed and designed to increase DEI within the leadership and employee base of member companies, thereby leading to a mortgage banking industry that may better reflect and understand its customers.

For companies with more than 1,000 employees, New American Funding is being awarded for its dedication to incorporating DEI into not only in its business practice, but as part of its core values as an organization. As a woman-led company, New American Funding focuses on providing its team with the opportunities, tools, and support to advance their careers. Notably, its workforce is also 56% women. Their initiative, Included, represents New American Funding’s commitment to DEI and unifies the company’s community lending programs and its internal Diversity and Inclusion initiative with the shared goal of creating, cultivating, and sustaining equity for all. Furthermore, Included involves the company’s Latino Focus and New American Dream initiatives, both efforts designed to boost homeownership and mortgage industry career awareness among Hispanic and Black communities. The initiative also includes the company’s Military Heroes Focus, which works to increase homeownership for military servicemembers, veterans, and their families and to bring more veterans into the company’s workforce.

For companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, Embrace Home Loans is being awarded for its dedication to addressing the need for more cultural sensitivity within its ranks at the height of social unrest in 2020. Embrace established a Racial Injustice Response Team, which subsequently evolved into the creation of the Collab for Thriving Diversity, a team of leaders, champions, advisors, coaches, and consultants with various skills and competencies. Together, members of this group have been working continuously to provide strategic leadership to the company’s diversity efforts. The Collab for Thriving Diversity also consults with other company leaders to help them take ownership and advance diversity in their spheres of influence and implements and integrates the different diversity initiatives and new diversity projects.

Market Outreach Strategies Award: First Horizon Corporation and Synovus Mortgage

The Market Outreach Strategies Award recognizes company initiatives specifically developed and designed to increase outreach, marketing, and products to attract customers from the industry's fastest-growing market segments.

For companies with more than 1,000 employees, First Horizon Corporation is being awarded for their unique lending products that go above and beyond standard Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) programs available in the current market. In addition to its inclusive lending programs, First Horizon developed the Home Start product, which features subsidized or no mortgage insurance, and up to 100% financing. They also devote 3–6% of the bank’s supplier spending to minority-owned businesses and earmark a portion of its marketing budget to minority-owned firms.

For companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, Synovus Mortgage is being recognized for its Grant Program, which removes traditional barriers to affordability by subsidizing and providing credit towards non-recurring closing costs or permanently buying down a borrower’s interest rate. Additionally, in 2014, Synovus committed $25 million to Affordable Lending Credit Programs. The program has been  highly successful, and in 2021, Synovus raised the funding amount to $450 million. Additionally, Synovus has dedicated Affordable Housing Specialists who serve as internal liaisons, responsible for leading bi-weekly calls to discuss additional lending products, financial literacy courses, and ways to enhance community involvement.

Non-Lender Award: Enact Mortgage Insurance and Experian

For the Organizational DEI non-lender category, Enact Mortgage Insurance is being recognized for its expansive DEI initiatives, employee resource groups (ERGs), and new business initiatives. In 2020, members of UNITY, Enact’s African American ERG, approached senior leadership about how to make DEI more of a priority in the business and industry. Senior leadership listened and provided their support in enacting their ideas and figuring out what Enact could do to make the business and the industry more inclusive. As a result, Enact refocused its diversity priorities. Since its organizational restructuring of its DEI priorities, within the past three years, Enact has significantly increased recruiting at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for its internship and early career programs. Enact’s employee population has now grown to 58% women and 25% people of color.

For the Market Outreach Strategies non-lender category, Experian is being honored for its established partnerships in various communities across the country. Some of those organizations are also aligned with MBA Diversity Alliance Partners, including, but not limited to, HomeFree USA and the Center for Financial Advancement, to deliver credit education and empowerment opportunities to students at HBCUs. Furthermore, Experian has developed Inclusion Forward – a first-of-its-kind initiative that harnesses Experian’s data, analytics, and technology to help its clients create and provide more affordable credit access. Inclusion Forward is Experian’s commitment to driving toward racial equity and ensuring that individuals from underserved communities can gain access to credit and equitable homeownership opportunities.  

MBA's Commercial and Multifamily DEI Leadership Award will be announced at the 2023 CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo. Please visit this website for updates.