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FHFA’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) Issues 2020 Annual Report to Congress

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Published: 3/31/2021

FHFA's 2020 OMWI Annual Report to Congress comes as the nation is still reeling from the dual headwinds of a pandemic and a racial reckoning sweeping the country.  During these trying times, OMWI transitioned its staff to telework; extended additional support and services to the Agency's employees in the aftermath of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor tragedies; and, through its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) examination staff, conducted examinations of its regulated entities virtually for the first time.  As a means to heal in the aftermath of the shocking Floyd and Taylor deaths, OMWI and its sister financial agency OMWIs jointly sponsored the well-received Beyond Words webinar on race, work, and allyship.

Tasked with leading the Agency's inclusion efforts, OMWI continued to host several cultural awareness events throughout the year, including its first virtual program celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, as part of the Special Emphasis Programs (SEP).  In addition, the Agency offered unconscious bias training for all employees to better equip them to recognize and respond to workplace bias.

In a first for OMWI, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion invited all the federal financial agency OMWI Directors to testify last fall at a virtual hearing on each agency's efforts to promote diversity and ensure inclusion within their agencies, as well as track the D&I programs at FHFA's respective regulated entities, and report on the progress of the voluntary data collection from the regulated entities of the other agencies.

These are just some of the steps OMWI has taken under the Dodd-Frank Act to increase diversity and ensure inclusion of minorities and women within the FHFA workforce and its business activities.  The Report also summarizes FHFA's oversight of the diversity and inclusion programs of its regulated entities, as required under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, with OMWI having completed 15 examinations, surpassing its FY 2020 Performance Measure target of 10 examinations. 

Key takeaways from the 2020 report: 

  • Minority representation in FHFA's workforce grew from 241 minority employees in 2016 to 286 in 2020.  This increase is also reflected across FHFA's top six mission-critical occupations, from 37.0 percent in 2019 to 41.5 percent in 2020.
  • The number of contracts and obligated spend to Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses increased from 172 contracts in 2019, valued at $10,742,889, to 202 contracts in 2020, valued at $11,349,665, representing an 17.4 percent increase in such contracts and a 5.6 percent increase in obligated spend (nominal values).
  • FHFA adopted a new FHFA Strategic Plan FY 2021 – FY 2024 that identifies D&I as the foundation upon which the Agency's core values—Fairness, Accountability, Integrity, and Respect—rest.
  • OMWI established a volunteer-staffed Diversity Advisory Council to further engage employees in conversations with a view toward communicating important diversity concerns to the FHFA Director and senior leadership.
  • The newly developed comprehensive D&I Report of Examination (ROE) established in December 2020, further cements the Agency's commitment to more effective oversight of the D&I programs of its regulated entities in all business and activities.  The newly implemented D&I Composite Rating contained in the ROE will better inform FHFA's assessment of the regulated entities' D&I programs and their performance.  
  • As further validation of OMWI's work, and without any findings or recommendations, the Government Accountability Office in a September 2020 report assessed FHFA's oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and found that both had “made progress in implementing the diversity and inclusion requirements" of FHFA's Minority and Women Inclusion rule.

Faced with unprecedented challenges in 2020, FHFA OMWI stayed the course with some notable successes to build upon in the years ahead.

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By: Sharron P. A. Levine

Director, FHFA Office of Minority & Women Inclusion

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