MBA CONVERGENCE Partner Profile: Stephanie Moulton

(One in a recurring series about MBA CONVERGENCE, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s affordable housing initiative.)

Stephanie Moulton

Dr. Stephanie Moulton is a Professor with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Her research interests include public policy implementation, evaluation and management. She specializes in housing and consumer finance policies and programs implemented by federal, state and nonprofit organizations, with a focus on vulnerable populations.

Moulton is currently studying consumer decision-making regarding mortgages, and the role of public policy and program interventions to improve mortgage outcomes. She is principal investigator on a randomized evaluation of financial planning interventions for low-income homebuyers (with funding from the Social Security Administration’s Financial Literacy Research Consortium), and the principal investigator on a multi-phase analysis of the financial decision-making of seniors considering reverse mortgages (with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and HUD). She also studies homeownership programs administered by state housing finance agencies, including first-time homebuyer programs and foreclosure prevention initiatives.

Prior to her academic career, Moulton worked in the nonprofit sector, designing and managing asset building, homeownership and community development programs at the local and state levels.

In addition to research and teaching at Ohio State, Moulton is appointed to the Charitable Advisory Council to the Ohio Attorney General, provides policy and research assistance to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the Office of Affordable Housing Research, and is an appointed research affiliate to the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her doctorate in public affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Ohio State is a key leader in CONVERGENCE Columbus; Moulton is the co-lead of the Evaluation Framework Working Group for CONVERGENCE Columbus.

MBA NEWSLINK: Why is CONVERGENCE important to you and what is your role in it?

STEPHANIE MOULTON: For many people, housing wealth is their primary source of wealth. Yet this wealth is not equally distributed—with a 20 to 30 percentage point gap in the homeownership rate between Black and White households in the U.S that has persisted for decades. Black households in the U.S. hold one-tenth of the wealth of White households. This is not OK.

CONVERGENCE brings together local, state, and national community groups, housing professionals, banks, policymakers, and researchers to confront this problem here in Columbus, Ohio. There are deeply embedded structural, market and policy factors that have contributed to the racial homeownership gap over the past century—and there is no quick, easy solution. CONVERGENCE alone won’t eliminate the homeownership gap here in Columbus- but we must start somewhere. As a housing researcher who has been working on housing policy issues in the state for more than a decade, my role is to help leverage insights from diverse sources of data to define the problem and monitor progress towards our collective goals.

NEWSLINK: What has been your most meaningful accomplishment or experience since working with CONVERGENCE?

MOULTON: It was inspiring to see the collective efforts to develop the strategic framework and logic model that will guide our working groups over the next year or so.

When we first started working together, there was a sense that we needed a framework or roadmap to help guide our activities. Rather than taking an existing model developed elsewhere, we worked together as a community to develop a model that meets our local needs—with input from diverse stakeholders in Columbus as well as national partners.

This exercise moved us away from thinking about a single metric of success to realizing that success is also about system change—it is about mortgage product innovation, more informed housing professionals, rethinking how we engage and develop potential homebuyers, and providing a lifecycle of support for new homebuyers that does not end after the person takes the keys to the home.  

NEWSLINK: What CONVERGENCE initiative or project are you most excited for in the future?

MOULTON: I am excited to see system change in the local housing market that provides coordinated support for Black homeowners who have been previously shut out of the market. We need to do the hard work to reduce barriers in the system, including uneven access to information, mortgage product and underwriting gaps, and threats to long-term homeownership stability.

(A video in which Moulton discusses the CONVERGENCE initiative in Columbus can be viewed at


CONVERGENCE is driving collective action with lenders, other industry participants and government partners to facilitate new solutions to our 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.

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