VRM University, a professional and continuing education platform for the real estate and mortgage services industries, has launched a toolkit that helps government agencies and the financial businesses they regulate assess their compliance with Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which aims to promote gender and racial diversity in the financial services industry.
VRM University’s Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool Kit helps financial service organizations ensure they are fostering a culture that promotes the fair inclusion of minorities and women by measuring their organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion, workforce profile, employment and business practices, procurement, transparency and communication.
Each of those elements is given a score between one and five, with a score of four or five reflecting that the company is performing at a level consistent with industry best practices.
The toolkit, which is free to use, maintains user anonymity and does not store any data.
The toolkit was reviewed and supported by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and demonstrated at the association’s Annual Convention & Expo, held this week in San Diego.
“Increased diversity brings increased perspective and additional ability to recognize business opportunities,” said Cheryl Travis-Johnson, founder and executive vice president ofVRM 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.”
Some companies may not even realize they are deficient in diversity until they use the toolkit, said Jordan Hassin, who handles PR for VRM University.
“America is becoming increasingly diverse, and our industry needs to reflect the public we service to remain relevant.” – Cheryl Travis-Johnson, founder and executive vice president of VRM University
“By taking that kind of look in the mirror, the door may open not just for new employees at their organization, but to the communities represented by those employees. That, in turn, is where Realtors play a key role in making that connection in those communities,” Hassin said.
Section 342 of Dodd-Frank covers several government agencies, including:
- The Federal Reserve
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)
- The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
- The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- The Treasury Department
- As well as all entities that contract with or are regulated by these agencies
Under Section 342, each agency must create an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) that will “be responsible for all agency matters relating to diversity in management, employment and business activities.”
Likewise, regulated entities must “promote transparency and awareness of diversity policies and practices” in their own business operations. Section 342 does not establish quotas or minimum standards, and it does not levy penalties.