VRM University Launches Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool

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Free tool kit provides simplified method for financial services organizations to assess compliance with Dodd-Frank, Section 342 and benchmark corporate diversity initiatives

Increased diversity brings increased perspective and additional ability to recognize business opportunities.

VRM University (VRMU), the training division of VRM Mortgage Services that provides nationwide training, certification and continuing education for the mortgage and real estate industries, announced today the launch of a new Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment Tool Kit. The tool kit, reviewed and supported by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), provides a free alternative for financial service businesses to benchmark, document and report their compliance with the proposed standards mandated by section 342 of the Dodd Frank Act. It is a confidential resource that includes a workbook and online assessment that maintains user anonymity as it does not store any of the data provided.

The Diversity & Inclusion Self-Assessment helps financial service organizations establish a benchmark for four key measurement areas that will enable them to prioritize actions and drive change, where necessary, within their organizations. The tool’s online assessment scorecard produces a ranking between one and five for each category, with companies performing at levels considered to be industry best practices reflecting an overall category score of four or five.

These category scores include:

  • Organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion score
  • Workforce profile and employment practices score
  • Procurement and business practices – supplier diversity score
  • Transparency and communication score

A fifth, “Overall diversity and inclusion self-assessment score” is also generated to provide an overarching organizational assessment.

“Increased diversity brings increased perspective and additional ability to recognize business opportunities,” says Cheryl Travis-Johnson, founder and executive vice president of VRM University. “We’re excited to launch this important tool and appreciate the support and input from the Mortgage Bankers Association on an issue that is not just of regulatory importance, but strategic importance to our industry. America is becoming increasingly diverse and our industry needs to reflect the public we service to remain relevant.”

Section 342 of the Dodd Frank Act calls for self-assessment and public disclosure of diversity and inclusion policies. It states:

“A model assessment process would include a quantitative and qualitative self-evaluation of the entities’ diversity and inclusion policies and a voluntary report of the findings to the regulating agency. Further, the entity would include information regarding its efforts to comply with the proposed standards on its public website, annual reports and other disclosure documents.”

“We must prioritize diversity and inclusion in order to best meet the demands of our current and future customers. The business case for proactive diversity and inclusion programs has never been stronger than it is today,” said Bill Emerson, incoming MBA Chairman and outgoing Chairman of MBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “The home buying population is about to get significantly more diverse as the millennials, who are the most diverse generation in American history, continue to age, form households, get married, and have children.”

Additional industry groups, such as the Five Star Institute, a leading trade association and education provider in the mortgage industry, have also reviewed and provided their support of the tool. “Being in a position to draw a self-assessment of one's understanding of diversity is a critical first step in increasing awareness and action,” said Five Star President and CEO Ed Delgado. “The VRM tool provides such a mechanism that is essential to promoting this dialog of diversity.”

In the absence of standardized processes and templates, the VRMU tool kit provides companies with the ability to: employ a standardized method for assessment of compliance with Dodd-Frank 342’s OMWI requirements; reduce time researching and interpreting OMWI standards; promote diversity policies and practices to partner agencies; provide a benchmark to help foster a culture that promotes the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities and women; benchmark against diversity standards and requirements to qualify and compete for agency proposals and contracts; and diversify their workforce to further drive economic growth.

The self-assessment is part of a larger diversity & inclusion initiative that will include training and process improvement courses in 2016 to help companies improve their assessed score.

VRMU will provide a live demonstration of the tool at the Mortgage Bankers Association Annual Convention on Monday, October 19th at 3:00 p.m. in the new “Hub Side Stage” area of the expo hall. For information and a map of The Hub, click here (http://events.mortgagebankers.org/102nd_Annual/default.html).

Access the free tool kit here (http://vrmuniversity.com/di-selfassessment/).
For more information about VRM University visit: vrmuniversity.com
For more information on the MBA Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, click here (https://www.mba.org/who-we-are/mbas-diversity-and-inclusion-initiative).
For more information on the Five Star Institute click here (http://thefivestar.com/#/home).

About VRM University
Since 2009, VRMU has provided quality professional instruction to a variety of clients including government agencies, large financial institutions and variety of small businesses. VRMU exists to equip and educate its clients so they can excel in existing and emerging markets. For more information, visit vrmuniversity.com.

The VRMU Mortgage Industry Training name and logo are trademarks of Vendor Resource Management, Inc.

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Rich Owens
VRM University
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