Our mission at HomeFree-USA is to help as many Americans as possible realize the American Dream of homeownership. Yet for many African-American homebuyers, that dream may seem to be out of reach.
Blacks trail behind all other racial and ethnic groups in the quest to own a home, with only 41.7 percent of black Americans owning a home compared to 71.5 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.
That’s why I’m so excited about Wells Fargo’s new program to originate $60 billion of residential mortgages to black consumers by 2027. The goal is to create at least 250,000 new black homeowners.
In addition to funding more mortgages, Wells Fargo announced that they would increase the diversity of the Wells Fargo Home Lending sales team. This is particularly important because diversity strengthens our companies by allowing us to reach a diverse customer base. People are comfortable working with those that they can relate to, and with a diverse workforce, Wells Fargo will be better able to service communities of color.
Wells Fargo also announced that the company would provide $15 million to promote financial education and counseling. In doing this, they recognize that financial education is critical to producing successful homebuyers. Non-profit homeownership organizations such as HomeFree-USA offer guidance throughout the homebuying process so homeowners are more prepared for the responsibilities that come with homeownership. Not only that, but it’s been documented that those who receive pre-purchase home buyer education have a lower default rate.
I’ve always said that the mortgage industry is stronger when we work together. Partnerships allow us to complement one another’s strengths and offset the weaknesses. Together, we must work to remove the barriers that minorities and all consumers face in the quest to buy a home. We look forward to working with Wells Fargo in this endeavor, as well as everyone who is united in the common goal of making homeownership an attainable goal for everyone.