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Small Step for Women and Minorities, Giant Leap for Mankind

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finalized four amendments to its Minority and Women Inclusion regulations today. The amendments, initially announced in October 2016, clarify the scope of the FHFA’s regulations and also provide guidance on the implementation of diversity and inclusion efforts.

The FHFA adopted its inclusion regulations in 2010, just after the 2008 passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. HERA requires Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Office of Finance—and all its regulated entities—to encourage diversity and inclusion throughout their organizations and in their business activity.

In October, the Agency proposed four amendments to clarify further the regulations’ scope, as well as offer implementation guidance to those institutions which it applies. Specifically, the amendments require entities to:

  • Develop strategic plans regarding their diversity and inclusion efforts—or, at the very least, include diversity and inclusion as part of their overall strategic planning sessions,
  • Expand opportunities to minorities, women, and disabled persons when using contractors or vendors;
  • Amend their equal opportunity in employment policies to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and status as a parent, and
  • Provide details on diversity efforts—including those done through affordable housing programs, community investment programs, and capital market transactions—in their annual FHFA reports.

The Agency accepted comments on the proposed amendments for 60 days following their release in October last year. Today’s rule finalizes those amendments; it has been published in the Federal Register and will go into effect in 30 days.

Today’s final rule is just one of many diversity efforts currently underway in the financial and housing sectors. There are also diversity-focused industry groups, like the American Mortgage Diversity Council, working to expand inclusion initiatives even further.

The AMDC aims to address the challenges faced by minorities and women in the industry, as well as encourage supply chain, workforce, and strategy diversification, through events, monthly publications, compliance guidance, training, education, advocacy, and more. The council boasts leaders from GSEs, federal banks, private lenders, credit unions, and other financial institutions from across the country.

Learn more about the American Mortgage Diversity Council at MortgageDiversityCouncil.com.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Aly J. Yale is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.

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