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MBA Recognizes Five Diversity and Inclusion Residential Leadership Award Winners
Oct 28, 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images/scyther5

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has announced that five companies have been recognized as 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Residential Leadership Award recipients, recognizing MBA members for their leadership efforts in diversity and inclusion in two award categories: Organizational Diversity and Inclusion, and Market Outreach Strategies.
“As we enter the fourth year of our Diversity and Inclusion Residential Leadership Awards, I am amazed to see the progress of the mortgage industry when it comes to creating successful D&I programs,” said Brian Stoffers, CMB, 2020 MBA chairman, and global president, debt and structured finance at CBRE. “This year’s recipients have an unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, and I look forward to seeing the future successes of their programs.”
The five 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Residential Leadership Award winners are as follows:
Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Award: FirstBank and Equity Prime Mortgage
The Organizational Diversity and Inclusion award celebrates company initiatives that were specifically developed and designed to increase diversity and inclusion 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, FirstBank is being awarded for its initiative on hiring and training a diverse employee population. FirstBank prides itself on employing individuals with strong moral compasses. With the help of FirstBank’s Director of Diversity and Diversity Committee, FirstBank’s D&I policy provides a framework to ensure that equality and equity are at the forefront of all business practices. The committee guides FirstBank to fostering, nurturing, and preserving a culture of inclusion at its organization.
For companies with less than 1,000 employees, Equity Prime Mortgage is being recognized for its dedication to creating a diverse and welcoming culture for both employees and clients. Through its efforts, Equity Prime Mortgage creates an approach that fosters, celebrates and infuses diversity into the company’s core mission, which includes promoting an inclusive culture and improving financial performance and innovation.
Market Outreach Strategies Award: SunTrust Banks Inc., Synovus and the Idaho Housing and Finance Association
The Market Outreach Strategies Award recognizes company initiatives that are 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, SunTrust Banks Inc. is being awarded for its inclusive Lending/CRA plan. Its plan includes several innovative strategies aimed at supporting homebuyers, promoting sustainable homeownership, and providing greater stability within the communities it serves. With a deep understanding of its clients’ needs, SunTrust creates targeted solutions to benefit its client groups while supporting its referral partners and the communities it serves.
For companies with less than 1,000 employees, Synovus is being recognized for its inclusion and diversity strategy, which was founded on the belief that improving inclusion and diversity is not just the right thing to do, but critical to the success of Synovus’ business. The program has three areas of focus: increasing minority representation across the organization; increasing the number of women in leadership positions; and improving inclusiveness in six areas identified by and prioritized through a team member survey. Several diversity initiatives were implemented in 2018, including revised job posting guidelines, leadership training, and the hiring of a diversity and inclusion director.
For the non-lender category, Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) is being recognized for its The Finally Home! Homebuyer Education course, which helps first-time homebuyers during the homebuying process. IHFA devotes a variety of resources toward targeted marketing and in-person outreach to ensure that everyone in its community has the resources needed to make homeownership possible. In the past year, 46 percent of Finally Home! students were women; 24 percent identified as non-White, Hispanic or bi-racial.
This year's submissions were reviewed by two groups of judges: Members of MBA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee and MBA staff. The companies were broken into two groups based on the number of employees, then were scored by the quality of their overall submission, identification of a target audience, and annual goals. Winners were also determined based on the level of success achieved by the diversion and inclusion enterprise and the replicability of the program. Innovative program approaches and potential success in broadening the culture of the organization through the values of diversity and inclusion were also considered.

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