With the number of minorities continuing to rise in the United States, there’s no doubt that the face of America’s homebuyers is changing. African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans will be the homebuyers of tomorrow.
However, are we as a mortgage industry ready for that reality? Not as ready as we should be.
The mortgage industry needs to reflect the customers that it serves. I recently spoke with Ron Cooper, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. He shared that when it comes to finances, minorities feel most comfortable doing business with those who look like them.
That means that generally speaking, Black Americans feel most comfortable speaking with Black loan officers and realtors. Latino Americans feel most comfortable speaking with other Latinos. Finances are already a sensitive subject for people so it’s critical that potential customers feel comfortable or else they will avoid lenders and financial services companies altogether.
What does that mean for us as an industry? It’s simple. If lenders and mortgage companies can’t appeal to a minority customer base, they will be left behind.
We need to have people of color working throughout the ranks, or we will lose credibility with minority customers. Not only does a diverse workforce bring about a vast array of different ideas, but a diverse workforce ensures that customers can relate to the companies that they do business with.
We also must ensure that there is diversity in financial education. Every community has its own unique culture and customs. Financial jargon does little to help people understand finances; rather they need to be taught by those that can relate to their lifestyles and put financial literacy in terms that they can understand.
To reach a new generation of customers, the mortgage industry has to ensure that it has a workforce that reflects the homebuyer of tomorrow.
Diversity is something that is to be celebrated, as it brings out the best in our country. Having a diverse range of homebuyers and mortgage professionals will help our industry to thrive for years to come.