In this episode of On the Hill, Tim Rood, Head of Industry Relations, talks with Kristy Fercho, head of Wells Fargo Home Lending and chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), where she also serves as vice chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee.
As the first black chair in the MBA history, and only the fourth woman to hold the position, Fercho has made it her mission to address racial disparity in the mortgage industry. "Homeownership is still the single largest financial commitment that many people will ever make in their lives, yet minorities are underserved in that area," said Fercho. "I'm very focused on increasing minority homeownership and making it sustainable."
Despite setbacks brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, Fercho is optimistic about the path ahead. "I have never seen such alignment between the administration, lenders, nonprofits, government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), and HUD. It feels like the stars are aligned where everyone is leaning in, but we have to be intentional about how we move forward," she said. "We have to align incentives and have a mindset to view this as an open, fertile ground for advancement.
"I've been so impressed by the nonprofits," added Fercho. "They're doing the work in the trenches that can help is find solutions and make a difference in local markets." But that’s not enough – government agencies also have a critical role to play in closing the homeownership gap. "GSEs need to lean into equitable housing plans and be intentional about how they're leveraging their knowledge and resources to drive innovation. They have the vision, knowledge, resources, and data to do that in a way that others can't."
Fercho is executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. She currently serves as chair of the Mortgage Bankers Association and vice chair of its Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee. Fercho also leads the Affordable Housing working group for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's Project REACh initiative and sits on the boards of the National Urban League, Opens Doors Foundation, City Year, and the Detroit Zoological Society. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Saint Joseph's University, where she serves on the Board of Trustees.