Blog: Celebrating Women’s History Month – Q&A with Prominent Housing Leaders

March 30, 2022

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, USMI spoke to prominent leaders in the housing finance industry to discuss their important contributions and some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today. As the demographics for the country and homebuyers continue to diversify, it is important to appreciate the perspective, experience, and expertise that women can bring to the table.  

Additionally, it is valuable to understand the impact women have in terms of changing trends in the housing and mortgage markets. Research by the Urban Institute found that over the past 30 years, “the share of households headed by women increased 17 percentage points, and by 2019, households headed by women accounted for half of all households,” adding that “[t]his trend holds across all racial and ethnic groups, with Black households having the highest share of households headed by women (60 percent).” In fact, a recent housing trends report by the National Association of REALTORS ® found that single women made up 22 percent of homebuyers in 2020, with single men only making up 9 percent.  

Click below to read our interviews with these leaders in the housing finance industry. 

Amount of U.S. households headed by women (source: Urban Institute).

Teresa Bryce Bazemore, President & CEO, FHLBank San Francisco 

“Diverse representation is important, so I believe we need to be intentional about bringing more people into the industry if we want to move the needle…Also, we should help connect the dots on how this work touches the lives of individuals and families who are able to have a home of their own.”

Read her full interview

Meghan C. Bartholomew, Executive Vice President, Radian 

“One must have the willingness to get out of their comfort zone and take risks, be inquisitive, ask questions, listen intently, and collaborate effectively.”

Read her full interview


Marcia Davies, COO, Mortgage Bankers Association; Founder, mPower

“With our country projected to become ‘minority-majority’ in the coming decades, it is of upmost importance that the mortgage industry’s workforce continues to evolve and better reflects the diverse makeup of the communities and borrowers we serve. That includes having more women – and especially women of color – at all levels of an organization, including leadership.”

Read her full interview

Paula C. Maggio, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, MGIC

“Buying a home is always fraught with stress, and we know that the stressors on women in the current social and economic environment are particularly pronounced. When we design our products and services around a frictionless customer experience, that reduces stress, which benefits women – and benefits men, too.”

Read her full interview

Faith Schwartz, Founder & Principal, Housing Finance Strategies

“I think having more women at the table making critical business decisions, builds our industry and the products and services that will appeal to the next generation of homebuyers. I am the former president of a volunteer organization, Women in Housing and Finance, which allowed me to spread my wings outside of mortgage into more public policy.”

Read her full interview

Debra Still, President & CEO, Pulte Financial Services

“It is indeed exciting to see the increasing demographics of women purchasing or owning their own homes…But there are still disparities. For example, men achieve better economic results in negotiation than women according to studies. This assumably would apply to negotiation in the homebuying process. Such a gap indicates our industry needs to further increase opportunities for homebuyer education and counseling as well as increasing the diversity and gender of its workforce.”

Read her full interview