New Initiative Designed To Develop Bilingual Mortgage Loan Officers

As part of the bank’s Access Home initiative, a cohort of bilingual employees is being trained as mortgage loan officers in order to help serve Hispanic homebuyers
Jun 5, 2024 9:30 AM ET
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The bilingual employees being trained as mortgage loan officers gathered in Minneapolis to begin their program at the end of April. In addition to U.S. Bank leaders, representatives from the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, were on hand for the training kickoff.

Originally published on U.S. Bank company blog

As a native Spanish speaker who was born in Ecuador and came with her family to the United States when she was two months old, Mayra Riera said she has long had a desire to help people in the Hispanic community and found that working in banking was a great way to do it.

“My mom didn’t speak English and didn’t know anything about financial literacy when I was growing up,” said Riera, who is based in Minneapolis. “When my younger brothers were in middle school, she got a job and opened her first bank account for herself. Helping her with that piqued my interest and it’s the main reason I started working in banking.”

Riera has been working in the financial services industry since 2008, starting as a teller and working in other roles that included underwriter, personal loan originator and personal banker, most recently for a community bank based in Iowa.

When she heard that U.S. Bank was hiring bilingual people to learn to be mortgage loan officers, Riera jumped at the opportunity.

“I was really intrigued,” she said. “I want to be able to help the Hispanic community and give them more financial knowledge so they can reach their goals.”

Riera joined U.S. Bank as one of 11 people in the cohort being trained for mortgage loan officer positions as part of the bank’s Access Home initiative, which is part of U.S. Bank Access Commitment®, the bank’s long-term approach to help close the wealth gap for underserved communities, including communities of color. Access Commitment initially focused on the Black community, and expanded to include the Hispanic community last year, where the wealth gaps are the largest.

“The Hispanic community has a disproportionate rate of homeownership in the U.S.,” said Sodi Nichols, head of national diverse markets and affordable lending. “By having bilingual mortgage loan officers who speak both English and Spanish, we can better serve the Hispanic community and help provide greater access to homeownership.

“The vision for us is to invest the time and resources needed to welcome new-to-industry, future sales leaders to U.S. Bank,” she said. “This aligns with our public commitment to increase representation in mortgage sales.”

Some of the cohort members came from other positions within U.S. Bank while many of them came from outside the company, Nichols said. They will participate in a yearlong training and development program.

“After that, they will be well-positioned to be successful, high-producing mortgage loan officers for the organization,” Nichols said.

Riera said she has enjoyed the program so far and is excited to begin working with Hispanic customers.

“I worked as an interpreter for patients at a medical center once but wasn’t cut out for it because I was only allowed to repeat what doctors or nurses were saying and wasn’t allowed to give advice to people when I wanted to,” she said. “Now I will be able to provide people with financial literacy and help give them the tools they need in order to buy homes.”