On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, the American Mortgage Diversity Council (AMDC), in partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Chicago, hosted a town hall discussion with leaders from the Chicago LGBT community. The meeting was the second in a series of town halls to be convened by the AMDC with LGBT community leaders from major cities across the nation.
“This conversation was a catalyst toward a new industry-wide conversation around solutions for fairness in LGBTQ housing and mortgage finance,” said Steve Thomas, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.
As John Rieger, Executive Director for the American Mortgage Diversity Council, explained, “The American Mortgage Diversity Council is a membership-driven organization of companies in the financial services industry working collaboratively to advance the conversations around diversity and inclusion by focusing on challenges faced by minority- and women-owned businesses, creating solutions through advocacy, education, and training. This latest town hall, the second in a series, provided information to be used in the creation of a white paper on the subject for the financial services industry.”
"I'm thankful that the AMDC has stepped forward to identify and fix the barriers that LGBT individuals face in obtaining home ownership and affordable housing,” said Jerome Holston of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Charmaine Brown, Diversity and Inclusion Leader at Fannie Mae, said, “Discussing these issues and examining possible solutions are important steps toward equality and inclusion for the LGBT community.”
“The AMDC is leading the industry in extending an olive branch to the LGBT communities across the country,” said Michelle Matteson, Senior Operations Manager at Bank of America. “I had the opportunity to attend the AMDC LGBT town hall in Dallas, Texas, and was amazed at the perspectives and stories that were brought to the table. I am proud to be a part of the AMDC LGBT events, as I am both representing Bank of America and the LGBT community. I applaud the AMDC for their efforts to get to know the LGBT community and their unwavering support as an ally.”
The schedule of topics for the Chicago AMDC town hall included Homeownership and Fair Housing in the LGBT Community, Workplace Inclusion, and Gender Identity Discrimination, and LGBT Youth Homelessness.
“My CEO gave me the opportunity to get involved in something that I was passionate about,” said Kim Morris, SVP, Tax Operations, Accumatch. “I looked at several different options before landing on the American Mortgage Diversity Council. Being an out, lesbian executive, it seemed like a cause I could get behind and help make a difference in my industry. My expectations have been exceeded twofold by the AMDC. When I suggested that we have a town hall to gather data about LGBT, the AMDC stepped up and not only set up a roundtable in Dallas but in three additional cities. Sitting at the first roundtable in Dallas, listening to the stories and understanding how the mortgage industry can make a difference, was simply amazing."
Participating organizations for the event included Accumatch, Associated Bank, Bank of America, Chicago House, CSH, Equality Illinois, Fannie Mae, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Flagstar Bank, Lambda Legal, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, National Tax Search, and Wintrust.
“The partnership between the AMDC and the LGBT community is paramount to begin working towards solutions that will help build a better tomorrow,” Matteson said. “The journey is long, there is much to be done, but this is a great place to start.”
For more information on the AMDC, click here to view the official website.