MBA CONVERGENCE Holds Memphis Job Fair, Homebuyer Fair

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s affordable housing initiative, CONVERGENCE, recently held virtual events in Memphis, Tenn., for area jobseekers and potential home buyers.

The Careers in Real Estate Finance Virtual Career Fair, held Thursday, Apr. 22, brought together Memphis-based employers and jobseekers from across the region. Co-presented by MBA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team in partnership with the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America, the event attracted nearly a dozen local employers—including nine MBA member companies—and nearly 120 jobseekers, who engaged in 250 “chats” and networking connections. A goal for the Career Fair was to encourage more minorities to consider jobs in the housing industry, thus enabling employees to better “mirror the markets” employers are trying to reach in Memphis.

On Saturday Apr. 24, CONVERGENCE Memphis, in partnership with the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, held a Virtual Homebuyer Fair. More than 400 people registered for the event, with 175 in attendance for the live event and more than 200 who viewed the event afterward on Facebook. Ninety-seven percent of the Homebuyer Fair participants identified as Black or African American

“Both events were well-received by all who participated,” said Steve O’Connor, MBA Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives. “We met our attendance goals for each event.”

MBA established CONVERGENCE in 2019 to drive collective action with lenders, other industry participants and government partners to facilitate new solutions to the nation’s rental and housing affordability challenges. By using a cohesive approach, CONVERGENCE promotes more sustainable, affordable homes for purchase and rental for underserved people and communities, especially minorities and low-to-moderate-income Americans.

CONVERGENCE Memphis is the first initiative led by MBA and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency to increase Black homeownership in Memphis, with a special focus on the Frayser, Glenview and Whitehaven neighborhoods. In these communities, CONVERGENCE Memphis efforts amplify existing local resources and deploy additional national and state resources to complete several workstreams. CONVERGENCE has targeted Columbus, Ohio as its next initiative.

Nine MBA member companies participated in the Job Fair:

o          Evolve Bank & Trust

o          Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

o          First Community Mortgage

o          Freedom Mortgage

o          Genworth Mortgage Insurance

o          Mortgage Investors Group

o          Orion Federal Credit Union

o          Regions Bank

o          Rocket Mortgage

The Virtual Homebuyer Fair focused on three general topics:

  1. Benefits of homebuying
  2. Why should you buy now
  3. How to get DPA and other resources.

Panelists included Priscilla Reed and Dalisia Ballinger of United Housing; Vee Turnage of Frayser CDC; Cheryl Muhammad of Assured Real Estate; Ella Harris of THDA; and Rob Chrane of Down Payment Resource.

Participant feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One participant wrote, “I’m not alone in this process.” Another wrote, “It almost feels impossible to purchase a home, but now I know that I can do it.” And another wrote, “I’m excited about moving forward on homeownership.”

O’Connor said CONVERGENCE will organize more such events in the future with other communities. “It’s part of our community engagement efforts to promote minority homeownership,” he said. “We think in the long run, these place-based initiatives can provide laboratories for us to test and learn and hopefully create road maps for community engagement.”

For more information about CONVERGENCE, click here.