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HFUSA to Launch Center for Financial Advancement

Pioneering Program to Jumpstart African-American Wealth

Washington, DC – Today Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac, Mortgage Bankers Association and HomeFree-USA are leading the way in a groundbreaking effort to increase wealth and homeownership in the African American community. The Center for Financial Advancementtm, a program that will be launched on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), will promote financial literacy, homeownership and expand diversity and inclusion in the mortgage industry.

The program, a collaboration between mortgage lenders and nonprofit leaders, will help to prepare African Americans both for homeownership and for an empowered life with financial freedom. The Center for Financial Advancementtm will elevate money management skills, teach students about credit and homeownership plus position many for a financially rewarding career in the mortgage industry. Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee will be the first HBCU to participate in the program.

While diversity is critical to any industry, the mortgage industry is particularly in need of a more diverse workforce. According to a 2015 study by the Stratmor Group, only 10% of loan officers were Latino, and only 3% identified as black or African-American, while 81% self-identified as white. Yet studies project that young people of color will account for four out of every five newly created households over the next decade.

“We are proud to invest in this effort focused on preparing more African Americans for successful careers in the mortgage industry while also supporting financial literacy that can lead to an increase in African American homeownership,” said Brad Blackwell, Executive Vice President and Head of Housing Policy and Homeownership Growth Strategies for Wells Fargo, the founding supporter of the Center for Financial Advancement.  “As our nation’s leading home lender to racially and ethnically diverse homebuyers, Wells Fargo is actively increasing the diversity of our Home Mortgage Consultant team because we believe a diverse workforce that mirrors local communities is also instrumental to advancing homeownership.”

The Center for Financial Advancement will host educational events and bring in speakers from all segments of the financial services industry, from banks to mortgage companies to nonprofit counseling organizations. The program also marks a new way to connect the mortgage industry with the African-American community. “With connections to both the mortgage industry and the HBCU sector, HomeFree-USA, through the Center for Financial Advancement, is able to not only connect with the students, but we're connecting with the parents, the faculty and the surrounding community,” said Marcia Griffin, president of HomeFree-USA.

One of the goals of the program is to create a path to homeownership for students by providing financial education, as well as career growth opportunities.

“The mortgage industry has a tremendous opportunity to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and nonprofit leaders to ensure that students are well prepared to be the homebuyers of tomorrow,” said Frank L. Sims, President of Fisk University. “By providing college students a sound foundation, the Center for Financial Advancement will play a crucial role in ensuring the financial readiness of future generations.”

About the Center for Financial Advancement
The Center for Financial Advancement is a collaboration between HomeFree-USA, Wells Fargo, Freddie Mac and Mortgage Bankers Association to introduce college students to the mortgage industry as a career opportunity and elevate their money management skills, while teaching them about credit and building wealth. Sponsoring partners will engage the students, faculty, parents and the local community at-large on such topics as credit, student loans, savings, homeownership and opportunities in the mortgage profession. The Center will better educate and prepare young adults for a financially sound future.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $2.0 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,500 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 273,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

About Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we've made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac's blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

About Mortgage Bankers Association
As the leading advocate for the real estate finance industry, the MBA represents and serves its members through a comprehensive array of capabilities and tools that enable members to successfully deliver fair, sustainable and responsible real estate financing within ever-changing business environments.  To learn more, visit mba.org and follow us on twitter.com/MBAMORTGAGE