Will McDermott is editor of Scotsman Guide Residential Edition.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
J. Tony Thompson III
Founder and CEO
National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America
By Will McDermott
J. Tony Thompson III is founder
and CEO of the National Association
of Minority Mortgage Bankers of
America (NAMMBA). He also is vice
president of growth and strategy for
Silverton Mortgage, based in Atlanta,
Georgia. Additionally, Thompson is
a member of the Mortgage Bankers
Association (MBA) Diversity Committee, MBA Loan Production Committee, Georgia Mortgage Bankers
Association board of governors and a
graduate of the MBA’s Future Leaders
Program. He has a strong passion
and commitment for developing
and mentoring young mortgage
must address diversity shortfall
Recent demographic data indicates that three groups will become increasingly important to the housing industry. These include millennials, of course, as well single women and minorities — especially Hispanics, who
some forecast could account for 20 percent of all first-time homebuyers over the next 10 years. We talked with
J. Tony Thompson III, founder and CEO of the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America
(NAMMBA) to discuss how this new trade association can help the mortgage industry deal with these three
emerging homebuyer groups.
How did NAMMBA get started?
I had been in the industry for about 15 years, and as I traveled the country and did speaking engagements, I noticed
a lack of involvement and engagement from women and minorities. This year, one of [the Mortgage Bankers Asso-ciation’s] top three priorities is to get more women and minorities involved in the industry, as well as to help recruit
the next generation of millennials. So NAMMBA was created to really help execute this strategy by putting people
on the ground to create a grassroots organization.
Is NAMMBA an extension of MBA?
NAMMBA is not affiliated with the Mortgage Bankers Association [MBA]. It is its own nonprofit. However, MBA
does support the efforts of NAMMBA. We work very closely with them, certainly from a grassroots level, helping
to achieve our mission and their mission of getting more women and minorities engaged in the industry.
What are your plans for NAMMBA?
At this point, NAMMBA is establishing chapters across the country, and we are focused on our inaugural conference this [month] in Atlanta, where we will … deliver training and educational seminars to women and minorities — and really to everyone in the industry. NAMMBA is not just limited to minorities. NAMMBA is open to
anyone who is passionate about diversity in our industry.
Why is it important to increase diversity in the mortgage industry?
If you look at the business case of having more minorities and more women within our industry, it is very
simple. According to a lot of demographic [information about] the future buyers of homes, a large percentage
of those buyers are single women as well as minorities or diverse in terms of their ethnicity. So, as we have a
larger, more diverse population, we are going to need individuals who can make sure we can service those
clients and their needs.
What are the main issues facing minority mortgage bankers?
One [major issue is] just the training [needed for] getting into the industry in terms of opportunities for companies to invest and train [more] women and minorities — whether it’s in sales, operations or other support
functions. The other key is a lack of awareness about career opportunities as a mortgage banker. So, one of the
things we are focused on is to make sure we can increase awareness of our industry and the opportunities [avail-able] for women and minorities and millennials who are looking to get into the industry.
What is NAMMBA doing to raise awareness and increase training?
NAMMBA will be working at a grassroots level to partner with our local chapters to establish relationships with
high schools, community colleges and universities to introduce students to mortgage banking careers at an
early age and get them more engaged and more aware of the opportunities and options of a career within the
mortgage industry. We also will be pairing [students] up with local professional mortgage bankers so they can
receive mentorship, training and support.
One of your goals is advocating for sustainable homeownership. Tell us about that.
We are working to make sure we support policies that promote good mortgage-banking practices as it relates to
helping people to retain and maintain homeownership. … Our goal is to make sure our members are originating with best practices and providing clients with the right products that fit their needs to ensure that we build
and maintain long-term, sustainable homeownership. What we have found is that when you build and maintain
homeownership, you build communities as well, and that’s our goal. n