FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt Delivers Moving Speech at Connect 2018


Burgandy Basulto is a Content Writer at NAWRB. She has a bachelor’s degree in both English and Philosophy, and a master’s degree in Philosophy. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves running, kickboxing, watching films, trying new restaurants she finds via Yelp, and experiencing other cultures during her travels.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has released the prepared remarks of Director Melvin L. Watt at the national Connect 2018 conference organized by the National Association of Minority Mortgage Bankers of America (NAMMBA). He shares a glimpse into his personal journey from a small community in North Carolina to becoming an influential leader of an agency that oversees trillions of dollars, and highlights how the intersecting factors of inclusion, economic opportunity and homeownership form the lives of countless Americans.

Watt began his speech by voicing his support of NAMMBA’s mission, which contains values and goals he has worked toward throughout his career. These include increasing the inclusion of women and minorities in the mortgage industry, as well as preparing them for continued success in the industry by demonstrating “a high level of professionalism and commitment to promoting sustainable homeownership.”

The Director of the FHFA is motivated to help generations of Americans achieve financial stability and opportunity through homeownership because these are key ingredients for achieving the American Dream, which he is intimately aware of through his own personal experiences.

Watt takes the audience with him through his life, from his modest upbringing in a shack in a community near Charlotte, North Carolina and education, to his professional experience regarding civil and real estate law and his current appointment in the agency.

Watt concluded his speech by offering words of wisdom to the audience. These include acknowledging and sharing their unique experiences that have shaped who they are; continuing to show up after setbacks; using their knowledge and expertise to advance sustainable homeownership; remembering the importance homeownership for wealth-building; and embracing their roles in the industry with responsibility.

“We need you to take advantage of opportunities, to develop your skills and to prepare yourselves for new opportunities,” stated Watt.  “When we hear diverse voices contributing to the conversation, new experiences are brought to bear, new ideas emerge and new possibilities become realities.  You are not ahead of your time. Your time is now.”

Afterwards, Desiree Patno, CEO & President of NAWRB, thanked the FHFA Director for his hard work and approachable demeanor towards other professionals in the industry. Patno shared NAWRB’s mission of increasing women’s homeownership, raising awareness of women’s poverty, and championing the inclusion of women and minorities at the C-suite level.

Read the full speech here.

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