How Quicken Loans and Rock FOC Create Powerful Change

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Quicken Loans and the Rock Family of Companies are built on 19 carefully thought-out philosophies, or as they call them, ISMs, which bring all of their values ​​together in active ways they plan to inspire change. From “this is how we leave our mark” and “obsessed with finding a better way”, to “pulling the roast out of the oven” and “we eat our own dog food”, these ISMs are the foundation of their culture and unite them together.

The 19 ISMs are also the reason Quicken Loans and Rock FOC were able to respond quickly to the pandemic and the racial injustices protests that have defined themselves this year. They didn’t have to pull words or beliefs out of nowhere. Instead, they leveraged the knowledge of their leaders and the ISMs already in place to galvanize team members.

Two of the change agents at Quicken Loans and Rock FOC are Trina Scott, Director of Diversity at Quicken Loans, and Laura Grannemann, Vice President of Strategic Investments at Quicken Loans Community Fund. Both women were also named HousingWire 2020 Women of Influence in this issue.

After George Floyd’s death, Quicken Loans CEO Jay Farner released a statement, stating, “As CEO of the Rock Family of Companies with over 30,000 team members across the United States, I am committed to ensuring that members of our African American team feel safe and secure. Most importantly, our team members must continue to be heard – and feel comfortable expressing their pain and frustration without fear of retaliation.

“In partnership with Trina Scott, our head of diversity, and the leaders of the family of companies, I immediately put in place a plan of action to advance meaningful and lasting discussions on race, police brutality and the ‘inclusion,’ Farner said.

Scott expanded on this comment in an interview with HousingWire, stating that their action plan is nothing new compared to the diversity and inclusion plans they already have in place.

However, she added: “As our vice president told me, this puts the pedal to the metal. It is time to move forward very quickly and accelerate all our efforts.

For Scott, diversity and inclusion begin with culture.

“A lot of times when people are in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion, the knee-jerk reaction is to turn to programming,” she said. “I’m proud to say that while we have programs in place, we have really started to think about our organization. “

Scott explained that the company started this intentional effort three and a half years ago, and rather than having to come in and build something new, it was able to build on what members of the team had already set up.

“It was really important for us to humanize this thing around diversity and inclusion and not make it so technical and difficult,” she said. “It is not an easy subject to broach. Many of us, like me, grew up where you didn’t talk about politics, race, religion, sexual orientation and voila, we do every day.

Scott also shared some tips for other executives trying to promote diversity and inclusion in their companies.

“First, look inside,” she said. “You can’t buy this off the shelf. It’s really about looking at what your organization is built on and what the organization’s mission and culture is.

The next step that she highlights is looking at the metrics and the data, so you can see where you are at and see the metric in the areas you really need to focus on.

There’s a debate right now as to whether you should have numbers or metrics you’re trying to achieve, and whether that equates to quotas, Scott said. But each organization must make this decision for itself by looking within.

“We all have to feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” Scott added. “There is no manual for this. You can’t go to Chapter Seven, Section Six, which will tell you how to deal with a pandemic and a racial uprising. The first and most important thing is to give yourself space and grace.

Meanwhile, Laura Grannemann runs another business within Quicken Loans and Rock FOC that shares the same ISMs and conduct as Scott. As Vice President of Strategic Investments at the Quicken Loans Community Fund, Grannemann oversees the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans and Rock FOC, helping to drive systemic change by investing $ 30 million annually.

“The opportunity we saw when we first founded this organization was that we have such a dramatic influence in many different spheres,” she said. “It’s not just our philanthropic capital, although our philanthropic capital is really important. The best way to make an impact in our communities has been to bring all of these different resources together and harness them towards a mission at the same time. “

Grannemann explained that what they do is most powerful when paired with their resources, such as their team members, their advocacy for government affairs, or technology.

“When we are able to pull all of these resources together, we can really drive change, especially in the housing industry,” she said.

“We are extremely passionate about the use of all of these resources and the impact on the city of Detroit,” said Grannemann. “And when I say impact, I’m not just talking about an impact at the surface level. I mean a big systemic change in the way our systems work here in the city of Detroit. Obviously, there are a lot of challenges. And some of these systems have been down for a very long time and don’t serve our community. “

The fund is making data-driven investments in housing, jobs and public life, but to highlight only its impact on housing in 2019, it has created communities to house nearly 7,000 ex-combatants as part of the Built for Zero initiative, a movement of over 80 communities redefining what is possible and what it takes to end homelessness, ”she said. “They also launched the second annual neighbor-to-neighbor awareness campaign, reaching 60,000 households at risk of tax foreclosure and helping a record number of residents avoid tax foreclosure in 2019. Third, they added 557 participants to the Make program It Home for a period of three years, in total 1,157 families who avoided the displacement linked to the tax foreclosure.

In the interview, Grannemann delved into the example of property tax charges in the city, explaining the downstream impact of taxes.

“Today we still have about 40,000 to 50,000 properties in the city of Detroit that are in disrepair and still need major repairs or demolition,” she said. “We know we really need to address the root cause of this challenge, which is the disproportionately high tax burden and the underlying poverty that causes the inability to pay these property taxes. “

One of the cornerstones of how Grannemann implements change is harnessing data.

“The first thing I always encourage any partner or team member I work with is to understand the problem better, understand the data better, and put yourself in the shoes of the person going through this problem,” said she declared. “If we don’t listen, if we don’t learn, if we don’t understand this experience, we can never approach it in a meaningful way.”

Detroit’s restoration, success and vibrancy is a big deal for Quicken Loans and Rock FOC. Grannemann added that a former mayor once said, “Detroit today is your city of tomorrow. “

He meant that Detroit sets an example for the country for what is to come, she said. And although he thought it in a very positive way, Grannemann said: “I think we see it both in a positive and a negative way.”

But by operating their home in Detroit and being the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Quicken Loans and ROCK FOC are able to create lasting and impactful change inside and outside the industry.

To read the full August issue of HousingWire Magazine, Click here.

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