NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / December 1, 2022 / Today the National Urban League and Wells Fargo announced a $5 million grant to create the Diverse Appraiser Initiative, a new program that aims to increase diversity and reduce barriers to entry in the home appraisal industry.
The grant is expected to be allocated over five years with a goal of certifying up to 260 diverse appraisers. In addition to supporting the certification of trainees, the initiative includes entrepreneurship and small business development components with a focus on creating 130 potential new businesses. The National Urban League will work with Wells Fargo to build a pipeline of diverse appraisers from three metro cities - Atlanta, Charlotte, and Houston - through Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers. This effort will begin in early 2023.
"Racial discrimination in the home appraisal industry is a significant barrier to economic equity," National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. "We're proud to partner with Wells Fargo on this innovative project to open the doors of opportunity and bring a much-needed new approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion that we hope will serve as inspiration to others in the field and beyond."
"We are delighted to continue working with the National Urban League to create more opportunities for underserved communities," said Kristy Fercho, who was recently named Wells Fargo Head of Diverse Segments, Representation, and Inclusion and continues to lead the Home Lending business. "We're excited to mobilize the combined resources at Wells Fargo and the National Urban League to help address core barriers in appraiser certification and increase the number of diverse-owned appraisal businesses. This relationship will help to diversify the industry and improve customer confidence in home valuations."
The home appraisal industry has long suffered from a lack of diversity among real estate appraisers exemplified by a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, which indicates 97 percent of appraisers are white. According to the Urban Institute, increased diversity in the appraiser profession may help address valuation bias for Black and Hispanic homeowners, which, in turn, can support more equitable homeownership outcomes.
National Urban League will provide entrepreneurial training and support on business basics, including formation, business and financial management, and access to capital, to those trainees who are undergoing or have completed the certification process. The Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers will customize these programs for each trainee based on their experience, skill level, and interest.
This collaborative effort between Wells Fargo and the National Urban League complements existing commitments by both organizations to help promote fair and equitable home appraisals and advance racial equity in homeownership.
- In 2021, the National Urban League partnered with Fannie Mae to seek applicants for their Appraiser Diversity Initiative Sponsorship Program, which focused on attracting new entrants to the appraisal field, facilitating the transition into the appraisal profession, and helping to foster diversity in the appraisal community.
- In May 2022, Wells Fargo identified 25 individuals to participate in the Appraisal Associate Program, a multi‑year commitment to hire and train individuals from underrepresented communities to become licensed residential appraisers (trainees were also successfully recruited for the program in 2016 and 2018). Ninety-two percent of the trainees are diverse.
About National Urban League
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC, Financial) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment, and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 41 on Fortune's 2022 rankings of America's largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.
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SOURCE: Wells Fargo
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