CEO Mark Jones participated in the Independent Mortgage Bankers Conference in Nashville, TN, held Jan. 24-27, 2022, and spoke with MBA Chair Kristy Fercho about MBA’s efforts to boost minority homeownership. Watch the video for the full conversation.
When Mark Jones and David Gahm co-founded Amerifirst Home Mortgage nearly 40 years ago, they made a commitment to help more Americans achieve their dream of homeownership. And as an independent mortgage banker (IMB), they placed special emphasis on helping low- and moderate-income individuals and families - and those in underserved communities – overcome obstacles to achieve successful homeownership.
“If you look back over the last decade of the IMBs share of the overall mortgage market, you’ll see that it has grown from less than 30 percent to more than 60 percent today. And if you drill down even further, you’ll see that IMBs control more than 80 percent of the underserved markets, so we really are walking the talk and addressing the needs of those markets,” said Jones.
Jones says Amerifirst has always served these markets. “A lot of our programs – FHA, VA, and USDA Rural Development – offer low-down-payment options that are specifically designed to help individuals who have little or no funds available for a down payment which is usually the biggest blockade to homeownership. It’s so exciting to see the industry embrace what we have always focused on – the underserved.”
A new initiative of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is taking big steps toward reaching underserved communities. “Home for All” is the brainchild of MBA Chair Kristy Fercho, who recently issued a challenge to the mortgage industry to do more to boost minority homeownership. Fercho is advocating for policy and regulatory changes to attract underserved populations to the home buying market. She says the industry can do its part by creating community initiatives to cultivate minority homeownership.
Ameriuno is a perfect example of a new resource that is helping first-time buyers, working families, and minority households achieve homeownership. In 2020, Amerifirst established Ameriuno, a Hispanic division, to boost homeownership in Spanish-speaking and minority communities throughout the country. Ameriuno’s team is bilingual and works closely with each customer to overcome common hurdles to homeownership, including language barriers, information gaps about home buying and the mortgage qualification process, and a lack of relationships and trust in financial institutions. It will soon open an innovative Home Opportunity Center in Kissimmee, Florida, where community members can drop in to receive education, nurturing, and coaching as they prepare to buy their first home.