The Minority Homeownership Journey

One of the biggest ways to help women reach their inflection point is through economic stability and success. As the Senior Vice President of Community Lending Mortgage at BBVA, Viola Solomon has fallen in love with helping people realize the American Dream of homeownership.

Viola has been in the mortgage business for over 37 years. She started out as a receptionist for the Mortgage division of Gil Savings and Loan and then spent 12 years in operations before moving to the sales side of the business. Before her current position, she was a Loan Processor, where she prepared loan files according to specific program parameters. She now works for BBVA, which partners with faith-based organizations, non-profits, minority trades, civic organizations, and many CDCs (Community Development Centers). BBVA also teaches and hosts homebuyer education classes and financial seminars to improve the quality of life for all of its constituents.

Throughout her years working in finances, Viola began noticing key social discrepancies. She noticed low to moderate-income or ethnic minority borrowers didn’t always have access to resources like other Non-Hispanic White borrowers. For example, she would see some borrowers’ parents or grandparents gift them the down payments. She couldn’t comprehend that act of kindness, because she didn’t know many families (including her own) that could or would give $10k – $20k or more to someone for a home.

From that point on, she decided to get into a financial position that could give her sons a down payment when they decided to purchase a home and she wanted to make sure other families could do the same as well. Her favorite part about her current role is to help develop, train, and support other mortgage professionals who are passionate about serving diverse communities. Viola helps women build wealth in a few different ways. She makes sure to hire women in an industry that is dominated by men. BBVA is intentional in its efforts to hire qualified women.

She also provides financial education and money management to help women from all walks of life pursue their financial dreams and goals. Viola and BBVA also support organizations that endeavor to improve the quality of life for women holistically (such as WIP, WoVEN, and other groups that support efforts to build a better woman). Viola continues to work hard to help every person who has a desire to become a homeowner to realize that dream, no matter how long it takes. She wants to see more women and minorities in key leadership positions in the mortgage banking industry, and will continue to mentor young professionals to help them get there following advice from Alfred Souza: “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”