100+ ideas to make the mortgage industry a better place

On the 15th November 2022, thirty travellers boarded a plane in the basement of a Virgin Money branch in Haymarket, London. None of us knew exactly where we would land, nor the route we would take; all we knew was we were ready to go on the journey. To help us on our way, we had pens, flipcharts, and plenty of cake. Thus began Chapter 2 of AMI and IMLA’s Working in Mortgages initiative for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in the mortgage industry…

Over the past year, AMI, IMLA and tens of volunteers from across the sector worked together to address some of the stark findings to come out of AMI’s 2021 Viewpoint Report on Diversity and Inclusion in the mortgage industry. The report shed light on some important issues and made for uncomfortable reading at times, but sparked an appetite for change that led to the development of the Working in Mortgages website. Our event on the 15th November was held in part to celebrate this achievement, but mainly to get our heads together and generate some ideas for what should come next.

How did it work?

  • We had five flipcharts posing various starter questions, and each flipchart had a designated ‘host’ to capture ideas and prompt debate.
  • We then split up into small groups, and each group spent 10 minutes per flipchart adding ideas, suggestions and thoughts about the questions posed.
  • People also considered suggestions left by the previous groups – adding a ‘like’ if they thought it was a good idea, and adding further comments where they thought an idea could be expanded on or challenged.
  • Once the groups had been through all five flipcharts, the hosts gave a summary for the room, and we rounded off with plans to use the notes captured to draw out key themes and report back to the wider group.
One thing everyone agreed on was the value of getting together and kicking ideas around in a judgement-free zone. For many, it was a unique chance to interact with a diverse range of peers from all corners of the mortgage industry. The energy in the room was palpable, and many people gained new insights and perspectives on others’ experiences of working in the mortgage sector.

What happens next?

We hope these documents will serve as inspiration for our next crop of volunteers and project co-ordinators. We need motivated volunteers to come forward and take ownership of some of these projects, so we can work together to make them a reality. Ideas are valuable only insofar as they inspire action. Nicola Goldie, one of the event organisers and Head of National Accounts at Virgin Money, commented:

"I can honestly say that it was one of the most inspiring events I have been to. The passion, determination and all-round lovely people we have in our Industry are what makes me proud to be part of it. But we can make it better… I am ready to get cracking!"