Borrower Education & Supporting Underserved Communities: Lessons from MBA Annual 2022


Borrower Education & Supporting Underserved Communities: Lessons from MBA Annual 2022

December 12, 2022
Certified Credit

As 2022 wraps up, many lenders may be wondering what they can do to strengthen their businesses in the coming year. Despite the tough market conditions, there are still many opportunities for growth.

We learned about some of these opportunities while interviewing industry experts at the 2022 Annual Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Conference. Several of these conversations centered around the importance of supporting underserved communities and educating borrowers.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the key takeaways from these discussions so you can use them to inform your mortgage lending business strategy for 2023.

Prioritize Education and Support For Next Gen Homebuyers

To start, we spoke with Kristin Messerli from about her third Annual Next Gen Homebuyer Report.[i] This report explores the attitudes of Millenial and Gen Z borrowers, broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, and income level.

This report highlighted Net Gens’ widespread distrust of mortgage lenders. Two out of three Next Gen homebuyers don’t trust their lenders. Another interesting finding was that only half of Next Gen homebuyers rate their lending experiences as 5/5 stars. Satisfaction levels were correlated to borrowers’ gender and ethnicity—women, low-income, and minority homebuyers often expressed lower satisfaction.

Lastly, this report discovered that Next Gen homebuyers’ top three challenges are:

  1. High cost of living
  2. Mental health and anxiety
  3. Access to personal finance knowledge

What Can Lenders Do to Support Next Gen Borrowers?

Based on these findings, it’s clear that lenders need to establish trust with Next Gen applicants, promote programs that make homeownership more affordable (more on that below), and place a greater emphasis on borrower education.

Lenders can also increase their success with Next Gens by:

      • Creating educational content on their favorite platforms – Many Next Gens live on social media. They often prefer TikTok and Instagram over LinkedIn and Facebook. By producing educational content on these platforms, you can help Next Gen borrowers develop a greater understanding of the lending process, the housing market, and their personal finances. This knowledge can mitigate some of their anxiety and empower them throughout their home-buying journey.

Need inspiration or resources to share? Check out our insights library.

      • Including supportive touch points throughout your lending pipeline – Another way you can ease NextGens’ anxiety is by reaching out at various points throughout the lending process. This level of transparency can also help you cultivate trust.
      • Providing five-star customer service every time – If you want to combat the dismal customer retention rate seen across the mortgage industry, you need to provide a five-star experience for borrowers of all demographics.

        It’s easier to focus on customer service when you automate other tasks, such as prequalification, verification of income and employment (VOE), lead generation, and undisclosed debt monitoring (UDM).

        Luckily, we provide automated solutions for all of these workflows here at Certified Credit: Cascade Prequal, Cascade VOE, Cascade Alerts, and Cascade UDM.

Close More Loans With Down Payment Assistance Programs

As we mentioned above, many aspiring homeowners feel discouraged by the high cost of living. We spoke with Rob Chrane, Founder and CEO of Down Payment Resource, about the immense value of down payment assistance programs.

Research shows that consumers often grossly overestimate the cost of their down payment. These consumers often self-select out of the housing market because they don’t think they can afford it yet. Luckily, down payment assistance programs can often get borrowers into homes much sooner than they imagined. Just take it from this real-life example Rob outlined in our discussion:

  • A mortgage broker had a client that wanted to purchase a home that required a down payment of $75,000.
  • She estimated that it would take four years to save up that amount of money.
  • Thanks to down payment assistance, she was able to purchase the home that same year.
  • Four years later, she had amassed $70,000 of equity in her home.

As you can see, down payment assistance programs can get homebuyers off the sidelines and into your sales pipelines.

What is the Homeownership Program Index?

So, how can you find the right housing programs for your borrowers? Doing so is easy with The Down Payment Resource’s Homeownership Program Index. This index includes a snapshot of the 2,300+ affordable housing programs currently available, 73% of which are down payment assistance programs.[ii]

By referencing this fantastic resource, you can prove to borrowers that there’s plenty of assistance available. You can also close more loans that may have been declined otherwise. According to Rob’s research, 33% of declined loans could have been approved if this type of assistance was provided.

Partner With Realtors to Match More Borrowers With Down Payment Assistance Programs

During our interview, Rob also mentioned that real estate agents wish more lenders understood affordable housing programs. By discussing down payment assistance programs with realtors in your area, you may be able to expand your referral base.

Empower Minority Borrowers With Housing Equity Programs

In addition to down payment assistance programs, lenders may also want to brush up on their understanding of housing equity programs. We spoke with Laird Nossuli, CEO of iEmergent, to find out more about this topic.

Laird explained that minority homeownership is projected to ramp up significantly in the coming years. In fact, minority borrowers are estimated to contribute $2.8 trillion to the mortgage market by 2027. With this in mind, shrewd lenders should adapt their long-term business strategies accordingly.

How to Best Serve Minority Borrowers

Here’s how you can attract and retain minority borrowers:

      • Promote housing equity programs – Minority borrowers have historically been denied mortgages at higher rates.[iii] Fortunately, equitable housing programs are being developed to help these aspiring homeowners get the credit they need.

        One of these programs is the Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP).[iv] This program increases minority borrowers’ access to credit. It does so by enabling lenders to extend credit to people under certain conditions who would otherwise be denied or given less favorable terms.

        By implementing programs like these, you can help make homeownership a reality for more people within minority communities.

      • Acknowledge the relevant gaps – Not all borrowers are starting the lending process from the same place. Minority borrowers often have less access to credit education and housing resources. You can fill in these gaps for them by meeting them where they’re a

        For instance, if an applicant’s first language is Spanish, you can provide them with bilingual loan materials. Or if an applicant’s credit score is too low to qualify, you can help them increase it by offering credit education.

        You can even advise applicants on the specific steps they can take to boost their score with the help of Certified Credit’s credit score improvement tools.

      • Swap knowledge with other real estate professionals – Education gaps also exist between real estate professionals. For instance, realtors may not understand the ins and outs of credit, while lenders may not be well-versed in the latest housing programs.

        By coming together and educating each other, the entire housing industry can help underserved homebuyers find the programs and products they need to join the housing market.

      • Recruit more team members from minority communities – Tailoring your services to minority borrowers is much easier when you have a diverse team. You can enhance your team’s diversity by recruiting new hires from the communities you wish to serve.
      • Engage with underserved communities – One of the simplest ways to support underserved borrowers is to engage in their communities. Simply attend local events or host educational seminars in the area. Not only can this help you cultivate trust with community members, but it can also help you come up with dynamic solutions for the complex challenges they face.

By employing these tactics today, you can become the go-to lender for the minority borrowers of tomorrow.

Train Your Team For Success With TMCU

Lastly, we spoke with Rich Swerbinsky, President and CEO of The Mortgage Collaborative (TMC). TMC is a national network of mortgage lenders. Its goal is to help small-to-medium-sized lenders become as efficient and profitable as possible.

TMC’s latest undertaking is TMC University (TMCU), an innovative lender training platform. TMC decided to create TMCU after hearing from lenders repeatedly that the current mortgage training options weren’t meeting their needs—they were too expensive, too generic, or simply outdated.

Motivated to solve this problem, TMC established an advisory board of 30 lenders to find out what subjects and strategies could enhance their training protocols. The majority of lenders said that communication skills and business development were their top training priorities. Armed with this insight, TMCU created its first two courses: Strategic Communication and Strategic Business Development.

What’s Included in TMCU Courses?

TMCU courses are designed with mortgage lenders’ needs in mind. They include:

      • Virtual, instructor-led training sessions
      • Self-guided, interactive modules
      • Graded assignments
      • Check-in sessions after course completion

Thanks to TMCU, mortgage lenders can fortify their teams using a reliable training platform. By bringing all members of your team up to speed, you can confidently take on the challenges of this ever-evolving industry.

Grow Your Mortgage Lending Business in 2023 With Certified Credit

As you can see, mortgage lenders can set themselves up for success by prioritizing borrower education and focusing on underserved communities. Accomplishing both of these goals is easier when you have the right solutions supporting your workflows behind the scenes.

If you’re looking for innovative tools, Certified Credit has you covered. As a TMC preferred partner and leading mortgage solutions provider, we can help you optimize your workflows so you can focus on your customer service. We offer a growing list of products and services for mortgage lenders, including:

    • Automated loan manufacturing solutions
    • Lead generation tools
    • Affordable credit reports
    • Flood zone determinations
    • Fraud and risk support
    • Settlement services

Want to boost your business success in 2023? Schedule a credit consultation with our team today.



[i] National MI. 2022 NextGen Homebuyer Report.

[ii] Down Payment Resource. Homeownership Program Index.

[iii] Urban Institute. What Different Denial Rates Can Tell Us About Racial Disparities in the Mortgage Market.

[iv] Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Using special purpose credit programs to serve unmet credit needs.