Learn the Importance of Women in Mortgage
Out of the 216,000+ Mortgage Loan Officers working in the United States, only 43.7% are women. That isn’t the only inequality still seen in the industry 𑁋 for every $1 made by men, women earn 88¢. This Women’s History month, we’re exploring the history of women in the mortgage industry and outlining the strides they’re making today.
The History of Women in the Mortgage Industry
To better understand women in relation to the mortgage industry, we first have to step back in time. In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act established just labor standards, including the concept of minimum wage for all, regardless of gender. While this was a step in the right direction, women were unable to legally have their own bank account and couldn’t apply for credit or loans without their husbands.
To remedy this, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) was passed in 1974. This legislation made it illegal for credit companies and financial institutions to discriminate against anyone based on their race, gender, religion, or national origin. On top of these regulations, the ECOA prohibits lenders from asking borrowers about their marital status and family planning, finally allowing women to obtain loans and mortgages without the consent of their husbands.
Women in Mortgage Today
As illustrated by the graph below, the gender distribution of Mortgage Loan Officers fluctuates, but it's encouraging to see more female Loan Officers join the industry recently:
Although they have only been able to obtain their own mortgages for just under five decades, women make up 50% of all homebuyers. This data point proves that now is the time for women to support women, not only by working together as homebuyers and mortgage professionals but also by encouraging more women to step into the mortgage industry.
That said, inequality lingers, particularly when it comes to higher-up positions. Out of the 23,000+ Mortgage Brokers working in the United States, a mere 32% are women. We hope to see this figure continually increase as more and more women, like Susan Stewart, join the mortgage industry.
Susan Stewart is the CEO at SWBC Mortgage Corporation and current Chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). She serves as a member of MBA’s Board of Directors, sits on MBA’s Residential Board of Governors, and is on the board of the MBA Opens Doors Foundation.
She shared a few words on being a woman in the industry in an interview with Housing Wire, saying, “For decades, women have filled many roles in the mortgage industry, but the climb to the C-suite was difficult or unattainable for many. Many took note, women began to channel their efforts toward professional networking, we learned to actively lobby for positions in profit-driven areas with growth potential, and we learned the value of stepping up to challenges and taking chances.
“Much has been written about the financial and intrinsic value of diversified leadership and our industry - recognizing the value we bring - is supporting women in leadership roles like never before.”
If you’re a woman in the mortgage industry or want to point your friends in the direction of some female-centered mortgage organizations, we recommend the following:
- The National Association of Professional Mortgage Women
- The Mortgage Bankers Association’s mPower
- Aime’s Women in Mortgage
What You Can Do to Help Women in Mortgage
No matter the industry, women still face inequalities in regard to opportunities and pay. Whether you run a team of mortgage professionals, are a part of a team, or own your own mortgage brokerage, here are some ways you can support women in the mortgage industry:
- Prioritize creating a fair environment, including equal compensation between genders
- Recruit without bias
- Provide mentorship opportunities
- Encourage internal promotions with a focus on elevating the most qualified yet most underrepresented team members
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