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Ocwen Financial Corporation is partnering with HomeFree-USA, one of the nation’s leading, Black-founded HUD-approved community-based financial counseling nonprofit organizations, to create a direct hiring pipeline for graduates of HomeFree-USA’s Center for Financial Advancement program at historically black colleges and universities.
The new program will create full-time employment opportunities for HBCU students who have successfully completed the CFA program. The two organizations are still planning the official recruitment process for eligible CFA scholars, and it is expected to launch later this year.
HomeFree-USA launched the Center for Financial Advancement to introduce HBCU students to career opportunities in the mortgage, real estate, and financial services industries. Throughout the school year, students are taught money management skills, shown how to build credit, and learn the importance of homeownership as a means for building wealth. In addition, students receive training on professional development skills.
The CFA initiative was piloted in 2017 at Fisk University and continues there, as well as at North Carolina A&T State University, Fort Valley State University, Bowie State University, North Carolina Central University and Morgan State University. As a result of its success, HomeFree-USA plans to expand the program to all 107 HBCUs in the coming years.
“Diversity and inclusion are deeply rooted in our core values at Ocwen and are integral parts of our culture and work environment,” said Lola Oyewole, vice president of Human Resources and chief diversity officer at Ocwen. “Recruiting, developing and promoting diverse talent is extremely important because it positively impacts our ability to foster innovation, serve our customers and drive the success of our company and our employees.”
“Partnering with companies like Ocwen allows us to continue the important work of diversifying talent in corporate America while providing much needed financial literacy to our students at historically black colleges and universities,” said Marcia Griffin, president and CEO of HomeFree-USA and an alumna of two HBCUs. “Very few mortgage and real estate finance corporations and financial institutions have hiring programs that aggressively recruit directly from HBCUs. This must change. Students at historically black colleges and universities are among the best America has to offer.”
Since the mortgage crisis of 2008, Ocwen and HomeFree-USA have worked in tandem to provide struggling homeowners with the tools and opportunities to obtain and retain homeownership. Over this period, the organizations have collaborated on various financial programs and educational initiatives designed to bridge the Black homeownership gap.