Company: Enact Mortgage Insurance
Innovation Title: Enact Mortgage Industry Development Program
Company Website: www.enactmi.com
Year Introduced: 2021
What Makes this Initiative Unique:
The Mortgage Industry Development Program (MIDP) is the first program of its kind, bringing education of the mortgage industry to college students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). By working with HBCUs, the MIDP is highly accessible to students of color. This program does not impact Enact’s profitability, but instead takes a philanthropic approach by exposing students of color to opportunities within the industry and increasing financial literacy.
The Why Behind the Purpose:
This program was designed to provide HBCU students with awareness around career opportunities in the mortgage industry and give them the foundation they need to begin a successful career in the field. The intention is that by being familiar with the opportunities available, more students will seek careers in the mortgage industry following graduation. Additionally, the optional mentorship component prepares students for their future careers, regardless of industry, by providing coaching and development opportunities.
The Positive Change:
Fannie Mae reports that the 2022 demographic of the mortgage industry is 73% white, 6% black, and 7% Latinx, which is not representative of the overall population. The industry awareness that MIDP participants receive will recruit more diverse talent into the industry and help the industry better reflect the borrowers it serves.
Additionally, the program grants the students more visibility into their options for homeownership and provides them with the knowledge they need to buy a home. With the minority homeownership gap now greater than when housing discrimination was legal, this is an important step in minimizing that gap.
Despite the program’s age, its reach has already expanded, and the industry is benefiting. In its first offering in the fall of 2021, 15 students participated from two different HBCUs through Enact’s partnership with HomeFree USA’s Center for Financial Advancement (CFA). By the 2022 spring offering, the program expanded availability to any CFA scholar interested in the content, and 47 students from 11 universities enrolled in the program. The program reached a total of 62 students over the 2021-2022 school year with 32 of the students choosing to complete the requirements to earn an official Certificate of Completion. Enact recently hired a program graduate for a full-time position, and other participants have begun work in the industry.
Research shows that black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) tend to have lower rates of financial literacy than white and Asian Americans. By providing an in-depth look at the mortgage industry, students also receive a detailed explanation on credit and how loan decisions are made. The financial education provided will enable students to make better financial decisions beyond buying a home.
Most directly, this initiative impacts HBCU students, and thus students of color. The effect is more expansive, however, as it will lead to greater diversity in the industry over time, which means that BIPOC homebuyers will interact with more people in the industry who look like them. Finally, the program exposes the employee mentors to more diverse experiences and perspectives.