REAL Trends interviewed Ryan Gorman about housing and wealth inequities and how Coldwell Banker stands on the issues.
At a virtual National Association of Realtors® Leadership Summit, Richard Rothstein, a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Summit,” said, “Realtors, banks, and developers all participated knowingly and willingly in that unconstitutional federal housing policy,” said Rothstein, who documented discriminatory policy at all levels of government, abetted by private industry, in his bestselling book “The Color of Law.”
Ryan Gorman, president and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate agrees. “I think the book does an excellent job of outlining that history, but I couldn't help it but think that everyone needs to know this. Every professional in this industry needs to know the path to today, what’s taken place, and what continues to take place today that led us to the place where we are."
That’s why he and the leadership team at Coldwell Banker take diversity and inclusion seriously. “If we're going to take a massive underrepresentation of, for instance, black homeowners in this country seriously, we need to understand, appreciate and admit what led to it, and then focus on those things that we can do to dramatically, not just minimally, but dramatically positively impact that homeownership rate.”
For Coldwell Banker, education is the foundation for inclusion and not just for black Americans but for other minorities, as well. “Real estate agents are the single best partner to help ensure that community members know about what programs exist that can help increase homeownership in underrepresented populations,” he says.
Gorman notes that the company is working hand-in-hand with NAR and others to double down on the efforts of those organizations. “For instance, when NAR created the Unconscious Bias [training video], we immediately pushed that out to everyone we could possibly reach,” says Gorman. “We also rolled out our Diversity and Ownership program to increase ownership and opportunity in underrepresented communities.
The Inclusive Ownership program, first announced in February, is an initiative to increase representation of minority, women, LGBTQ+ and veteran entrepreneurs in the real estate industry. Each new brokerage that affiliates with Coldwell Banker will not pay the initial franchise fee and will receive financial incentives to support diverse business owners in the critical first two years of business. Benefits include up to $100,000 of funding, royalty fee rebates as well as education and mentorship. Owners will also receive membership and conference registration for an industry partner group of choice, such as the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and the Asian Real Estate Association of America.
“I personally mentor these broker-owners to grow their business and establish themselves in the community,” says Gorman. “All of these programs and training raise awareness and create opportunities for people to grow within or outside of the Coldwell Banker brand. We invite people from lots of different companies to events on diversity, and now some others in the industry are starting to create their own programs, which we support,” says Gorman. “I think Coldwell Banker can move the needle, but it’s going to take the whole village to really improve the situation."