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VRM University Unveils Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool

computersVRM University (VRMU), the training division of Carrollton, Texas-based VRM Mortgage Services that provides nationwide training, certification, and continuing education for the mortgage and real estate industries, recently announced the launch of their new Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool Kit.

The tool kit provides a free alternative for financial service businesses to benchmark, document, and report their compliance with the proposed standards mandated by section 342 of the Dodd Frank Act. The Act calls for self-assessment and public disclosure of diversity and inclusion policies.

The self-assessment is part of a larger diversity & inclusion initiative that will include training and process improvement courses in 2016 to help companies improve their assessed score.

“Increased diversity brings increased perspective and additional ability to recognize business opportunities,” says Cheryl Travis-Johnson, founder and EVP of VRM University. “We’re excited to launch this important tool and appreciate the support and input from the Mortgage Bankers Association on an issue that is not just of regulatory importance, but strategic importance to our industry. America is becoming increasingly diverse and our industry needs to reflect the public we service to remain relevant.”

The Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment helps financial service organizations establish a benchmark for four key measurement areas that will enable them to prioritize actions and drive change, where necessary, within their organizations. The tool produces a score between one and five for each category, with companies performing at levels considered to be industry best practices reflecting an overall category score of four or five.

These category scores include:

1. Organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion score
2. Workforce profile and employment practices score
3. Procurement and business practices – supplier diversity score
4. Transparency and communication score

A fifth, “overall diversity and inclusion self-assessment score” is also generated to provide an overarching organizational assessment.

“We must prioritize diversity and inclusion in order to best meet the demands of our current and future customers. The business case for proactive diversity and inclusion programs has never been stronger than it is today,” said Bill Emerson, incoming MBA chairman and outgoing chairman of MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “The home buying population is about to get significantly more diverse as the millennials, who are the most diverse generation in American history, continue to age, form households, get married, and have children.”

Additional industry groups, such as the Five Star Institute, a leading trade association and education provider in the mortgage industry, have also reviewed and provided their support of the tool.

“Being in a position to draw a self-assessment of one's understanding of diversity is a critical first step in increasing awareness and action,” said Ed Delgado, Five Star President and CEO. “The VRM tool provides such a mechanism that is essential to promoting this dialog of diversity.”

The VRMU tool kit provides companies with the ability to:

  • Employ a standardized method for assessment of compliance with Dodd-Frank 342’s OMWI requirements
  • Reduce time researching and interpreting OMWI standards
  • Promote diversity policies and practices to partner agencies
  • Provide a benchmark to help foster a culture that promotes the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities and women
  • Benchmark against diversity standards and requirements to qualify and compete for agency proposals and contracts
  • Diversify their workforce to further drive economic growth

Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.

About Author: Xhevrije West

Xhevrije West is a talented writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She has worked for a number of publications including The Syracuse New Times, Dallas Flow Magazine, and Bellwethr Magazine. She completed her Bachelors at Alcorn State University and went on to complete her Masters at Syracuse University.

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