Broker aims to increase Black homeownership

She is slated to lead AIME's upcoming, and first, Diversity Summit

Broker aims to increase Black homeownership

Expanding homeownership opportunities for Black borrowers is of paramount importance given not only historical inequities but a significant lag behind White counterparts. Janine Kempfer (pictured), broker/owner at Prime Mortgage, is at the forefront of that mission.

Mortgage Professional America caught up with Kempfer at last week’s AIME on Tour stop in Denver, a series of regional networking events designed to connect the organization’s members, independent mortgage brokers and wholesale mortgage professionals. The tour stops represent opportunities to secure updates about important initiatives while learning how to get involved in advocating for the broker community.

As it happens, Denver is headquarters of Kempfer’s brokerage, Prime Mortgage. She described having helped a client secure a loan through the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, invoking an example of opportunities out there to expand homeownership for members of the minority group. The fund provides up to $40,000 in down payment assistance for first-time Black and African American homebuyers toward the end of creating generational wealth. The down payment assistance is like a loan, but homeowners don’t make monthly payments or pay interest. Instead, when homeowners sell or refinance, they repay the down payment amount plus 5% of their home’s appreciation – which allows Dearfield Fund, in turn, to serve more Black homeowners.

“My passion is to increase Black homeownership because there’s such a big gap between Black homeowners and White homeowners, their counterparts,” she told MPA. “I work really hard to do whatever I can to bridge that gap. It’s a significant amount of money down and that really allows people to afford more. The last deal I did using this program during this crazy market really made the difference. They wouldn’t have been able to play in this game without the program. It makes people feel a little more comfortable they even have a shot at buying.”

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The program requires 3% of lenders’ own money to qualify, and the Dearfield Fund pitching in up to $40,000 more. Kempfer said the last lenders she helped using the program were able to amass the needed 10% required down payment to buy a home.

As a Black woman, Kempfer has experienced the anxiety of never achieving homeownership herself. In a March interview with MPA, she recalled being a single mom living in an apartment after a divorce. Yet even at that young age she understood the importance of homeownership, buying her first property at the age of 20.

“At that point, I needed to get out of that apartment,” she said. “By chance I met someone who was a realtor, and he asked me if I was a homeowner, and I told him this whole story. He said ‘you could get your real estate license and use your commission as a down payment since you can’t save money.’ You could do that back then; you can’t do that now.”

That was the beginning of a career in the mortgage industry that now numbers 27 years. Earlier this year, AIME named her to its executive leadership team. In her new role, Kempfer promotes the role of brokers as the best option for underserved communities. And given her other role as a franchise business consultant, Kempfer will help those with an interest in owning a business.

“As vice president of impact, Janine will preserve the wholesale channel by offering comprehensive service and support to the broker channel's progress,” Tom Ahles, president of growth, said in a prepared statement. “She will work to recruit talent from outside industries and promote the benefits of the channel as the best option for consumers and brokers.”

Kempfer’s growing influence at AIME will manifest at AIME’s first-ever Diversity Summit at FUSE.