Coldwell Banker says it has abandoned franchising fees for veterans and people who identify as minorities in an attempt to boost diversity among its broker ranks.
The New Jersey-based brokerage, which oversees more than 3,000 franchised brokerages globally, will provide financial assistance to those who identify as racial or ethnic minorities, women, military veterans and brokers who identify as LGBT, Inman reported.
The new initiative, Coldwell Banker Diversity in Ownership Program, will forgive enrollees the $25,000 fee to set up a new franchise, and will provide them with up to $100,000 in addition to mentoring, royalty fee rebates and industry organization memberships.
“One of the best things we can do to increase homeownership in underrepresented communities is to increase access to and understanding of programs and information related to buying and owning a home,” Coldwell’s CEO Ryan Gorman said in a blog post.
Diversity and discrimination have long been issues for brokerages and the housing industry in general. A three-year Newsday investigation published in November revealed that brokers on Long Island still engage in housing discrimination, especially against African-Americans and Latinos.
“I vowed to take very serious action, and this was one of the things that I had in mind,” Gorman told Inman, in reference to the Newsday probe, which used undercover testers.