Paul Gigliotti: The Mortgage Industry Needs More Diversity in Hiring

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CHARACTER OF THE WEEK: Mortgage lenders and service companies have made great strides over the past 10 years or so in promoting diversity, fairness, inclusion, and opportunity in their organizations. This includes implementing best practices, tackling complex problems and removing barriers, and building networking opportunities that foster overall industry diversity, fairness and inclusion.

However, the mortgage industry has a long way to go before it reaches the level of diversity seen in other industries. One of the most common problems preventing the mortgage industry from becoming more diversified is that mortgage lenders, in particular, tend to favor “veterans” for field work and sales, on the basis that these veterans can increase sales and better customer service faster and better than new employees.

In a recent interview with MortgageOrb, Paul Gigliotti, President, AXIS Lending Academysays that if lenders are serious about increasing their diversity and engagement, they should consider bringing more diverse talent into their hiring channels, rather than focusing so heavily on experience.

Q: How do you see the development of the mortgage industry in terms of diversity?

Gillotti: I think most people agree which could be better. In terms of the representation of various minority groups, the composition of our industry is not proportional to the total population. We can better support an inclusive work environment, so people from different backgrounds who choose mortgage careers will want to stay.

Q: What is a “diverse group”?

Gillotti: For me, the diverse group includes inclusiveness and reflects the full range of human differences, including race, age and gender, as well as disabilities, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. With the massive adoption of teleworking, even geographic diversity is possible.

Q: What is the use of bringing new people into the industry?

Gillotti: One of the main benefits of attracting new people to the industry is reducing payroll costs. Many lenders have issued huge salaries and bonuses during the refinancing wave, but these are not sustainable in the long run. By replacing high-paying employees with new, newly trained and highly motivated people, you will reduce your staff costs.

Another huge advantage is that newbies bring different perspectives and ideas with them. Because they are not tied to traditional, outdated ways of doing real estate finance business, they are more likely to find improvements.

Q: What is your role in bringing diversity to the industry?

Gillotti: I founded AXIS Lending Academy provide lenders with a source of talented job candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds. We target people with experience in other industries and provide them with a mortgage education that is a hybrid of classroom and on-the-job learning. Many of these people may have been displaced by the pandemic or were simply unhappy with their current careers and looking for new challenges.

Q: What inspired you to launch AXIS?

Gillotti: My personal journey began in a world of isolation. As a child, I was told that being gay meant never being successful, I would never have meaningful long-term relationships, and I would never have a child. None of this has been confirmed – I have it all. My experience has motivated me to create an organization in which people of all types can elevate themselves and happily work in a career in which they feel they belong.

Q: When did AXIS open for business?

Gillotti: We launched in January. Classes began on May 17, and first grade graduates in August. By then, our graduates will have completed a 30-day paid internship at PJ Operations, a mortgage execution company. We even help them with job placement to ensure a successful start to their new careers. Honestly, I can’t wait – I’m very happy to see how far they’ve come.

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