Reverse Mortgage Trade Association Takes Further Step in Establishing Diversity Committee

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) and its board of directors has formally approved the mission statement of its newly-formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee, according to a statement emailed to association members late last week.

The recently-formed committee, revealed to the reverse mortgage industry and association membership at a virtual meeting last month, saw members and industry leaders pledge to prioritize an increased focus on diversity and inclusion both within the ranks of business leadership, as well as in the customers served by the reverse mortgage industry in order to better accommodate the growing interest observed in the product category over the past few years.

“We at NRMLA are committed to strengthening the Reverse Mortgage Ecosystem by promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices,” the mission statement says. “We are building awareness of issues that impact us all by accepting differences, sharing knowledge, and facilitating necessary discussions to help member organizations operate successfully and collaboratively.”

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NRMLA President Steve Irwin credits the guidance of the new committee’s co-chairs as integral to the establishment of the mission statement, and in the efforts outlined within it.

“I want to thank our co-chairs Misha Hill of Finance of America Reverse and Patty Wills of Open Mortgage for their leadership throughout this process,” Irwin said in a statement circulated to the association’s membership. “Over the course of several meetings, the committee had some very productive conversations that resulted in a mission statement that will help guide the committee, the association and the industry in the months and years ahead. I look forward to the committee’s future work developing important tools and training to further the committee’s mission.”

The executive committee of NRMLA spoke about the committee and what the association hopes to accomplish through its establishment during NRMLA’s Virtual Policy Conference in April.

Previously, Irwin penned an update to association members in the May-June 2021 issue of NRMLA’s “Reverse Mortgage” magazine publication about the launch of the new committee, where it was clarified that efforts surrounding the committee are starting immediately. He described a “palpable” energy level from the group members, while recognizing that some “difficult conversations” may lay ahead. That does not detract from the “exciting path” he sees for the association and the committee in the future, however.

The stated goal for the reverse mortgage industry to become more diverse and inclusive also matches the stated priorities of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), three government entities that have direct relationships with the reverse mortgage industry at various levels based on guidance from the agencies’ leadership since the inauguration of President Joe Biden in January.

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