MBA Announces Inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Award Winners

BOSTON–The Mortgage Bankers Association announced its first annual awards recognizing member companies for their leadership in diversity and inclusion.

Companies were recognized in two different categories: organizational diversity & inclusion and market outreach strategies.

“These awards recognize the importance of embracing a diverse and inclusive real estate finance industry,” said MBA Chairman Rodrigo López, CMB, Executive Chairman of NorthMarq Capital, Omaha, Neb., and former Chairman of the MBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee. MBA received an overwhelming amount of submissions to our inaugural awards, and faced a difficult challenge in selecting from a strong pool of applicants. We are pleased to see so many companies dedicating resources and efforts towards these important issues.”

Company initiatives were scored by two groups of judges, consisting of members of MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and MBA staff. The companies were scored based on quality of the overall submission; identification of a target audience and annual goals; demonstration of a tangible benefit to participants and the overall enterprise; replicability of the program; innovative program approaches; and program success in broadening the culture of the organization through the values of diversity and inclusion.

For Organizational Diversity and Inclusion: Ballard Spahr and SunTrust Mortgage
The Organizational Diversity and Inclusion award celebrates company initiatives 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.

Ballard Spahr
–Ballard Spahr is a national law firm with 14 offices that has championed its long-standing commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion for more than a decade.
–Ballard Spahr has demonstrated a strong commitment to improvement of employee recruitment and retention among diverse populations to ensure full access to opportunity for all individuals.
–By focusing on inclusiveness, through effective integration, development and engagement of all lawyers, the firm has created strategies to enhance the firm’s collaborative culture and to support the networking and business development of its employees.
–The firm also partners with affinity-based law student organizations across the country to support a pipeline of law students entering the legal profession.
–In 2016, Firm Chair Mark Stewart was named recipient of the Associated Black Charities’ Change Agents Award. This award recognizes leaders in the effort to bring greater diversity to the legal profession.
–The firm is ranked by the National Law Journal’s Women in Law Rankings as one of the top law firms for female attorneys in the nation.
–In 2015 and 2016, the firm was named one of the top 100 law firms for female attorneys by Law360.

SunTrust Mortgage
–SunTrust Mortgage made “inclusion” a top business priority and core value in 2014.
–Since making a conscious decision to prioritize a more inclusive culture, SunTrust launched new recruitment programs for recent college graduates and others who want to begin a successful career in mortgage banking. SunTrust also created professional development opportunities for diverse teammates, with the long-term goal of expanding diversity in the management and leadership of the business and to leverage employee outreach to better build bridges among diverse communities and potential homebuyers in these markets.
–As a result of these efforts, SunTrust increased its recruitment of diverse candidates, with 68 percent of its most recent incoming class being diverse candidates. SunTrust also increased engagement of diverse teammates through Teammate Networks that facilitate mentorship and professional development programs and diverse community outreach by 11 percent in 2016.

For Market Outreach Strategies: The PrivateBank and Trust Company
The Market 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.

This award commends the hard work, dedication, and creativity in creation of exemplary diversity and inclusion programs focused on new market outreach.

–Beginning in 2013, with a small branch network, none of which was in a low income tract, the PrivateBank and Trust Company developed a company-wide initiative to further support and exceed peer established goals within the communities they served.
–The team, which included senior and executive management, collaborated to design new products, competitive programs, effective strategies and robust marketing and outreach efforts to help reach their goals.
–The company dedicated resources, such as:
—-Developing safe, affordable portfolio loan products to serve low-to-moderate income customers;
—-Engaging with a new minority-owned vendor to sustain the Bank’s outreach and awareness in minority areas;
—-Creating a closing cost assistance program that provides up to $2,500 to all low- and moderate-income borrowers and/or low and moderate census tracts; and
—-Increasing the ethnic minority composition of its sales force to 30%.

As a result of these efforts, ThePrivate Bank:
–Met or exceeded peer performance in all markets and in all categories in 2014 and 2015;
–Widely exceeded its annual lending goals in four major markets;
–Committed $10 million over five years to the Chicago Affordable Housing Program with already nearly $1 million invested in needy communities; and
–Provided $1.1 million in closing cost assistance in 2015.

In addition to these winners, MBA recognized seven honorable mentions among the applicants.

The following members were recognized as honorable mentions in the organization diversity category: Colorado Housing Finance Authority; Envoy Mortgage; and Pulte LLC.

The following members were recognized as honorable mentions in the market outreach category: Mountain West Financial Inc.; New American Funding; PrimeLending; and Radian Guaranty Inc.

Commercial and Multifamily members will have a separate award process, with nominations opening at a date to be announced and awards presented at the MBA CREF/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo this February in San Diego.

Additional awards’ recipients will be recognized at MBA’s third annual Summit on Diversity and Inclusion in Washington, D.C., November 16-17:

To learn more about MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, visit