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Marcia Griffin

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Marcia Griffin is an American entrepreneur, TV host[1], contributing author[2], minority business leader[3], and housing industry thought leader[4] who has testified before the U.S. Congress on multiple occasions and participated in a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation townhall meeting.[5] Griffen is the co-founder of HomeFree-USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the racial wealth gap by providing renters, homebuyers, homeowners, small businesses, and communities of color financial education and personal guidance.[6][7][8][9] Her expertise and influence in financial wellness extends to students and faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).[10][11]

U.S Congress Testimony & Participation[edit]

On July 16, 2020, Griffin was invited to address the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as part of a virtual hearing on "Protecting Homeowners During the Pandemic: Oversight of Mortgage Servicers’ Implementation of the CARES Act.” Testifying on behalf of America's professional housing counselor community, Griffin drew attention to shortfalls in the CARES Act-related mortgage relief for homeowners’ forbearance program during the pandemic, including "a continued prevalence of pressure for lump sum repayments, confusion about available payment options, and whether or if a consumer qualifies for a mortgage payment deferral."[12][13]

Griffen testified that expecting "the financial condition of many homeowners to change radically" at the end of the federally mandated loan forbearance period, and described the need for federal coordination and affirmative action plans to prevent "misalignment of interests" and "anti-consumer behavior."[14]

Griffin's testimony advocated for stronger supervisory activity from federal agencies including the CFPB, the Federal Housing Finance Administration, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She expressed concern for borrowers in non-federally backed loan arrangements that would not typically be covered by the regulatory aegis of these agencies, stating, "In the absence of widespread adoption of CARES Act payment forbearance and generous repayment options, we implore the industry to create equitable standards for wide adoption."[15]

On September 14, 2011, Marcia Griffin testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Committee on proposed legislation for restructuring mortgage loan financing. Key excerpts from her opening statement regarding the mortgage crises include:

“Many of these borrowers…can’t afford to pay the mortgage that they have right now. But they can afford to pay something. These people are employed. They are trying to do the right thing. They want to be good citizens. We need to give more consideration to our borrowers and give them a sense that we’re all working together – the government, the mortgage industry…the investor – we are all here as a win-win for each other. (I) think that is the only way that we’re going to be able to turn around our mortgage crisis and really improve the economic conditions of our country.”

On September 25, 2008, Ms. Griffin served as a guest panelist in a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation town hall meeting focusing on United States mortgage foreclosure crisis which disproportionately affected minority groups.[16]

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Project REACh[edit]

Marcia is a member of the OCC’s Project REACh task force.[17][18] REACh (Roundtable for Economic Access and Change) brings together leaders from the banking industry, national civil rights organizations, business, and technology to reduce specific barriers that prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the nation’s economy.[19]

Project REACh convenes people with the ability to help solve inherent policy problems so underserved populations may have equal opportunities to succeed and benefit from the nation’s financial system as others.[20][21]

President and CEO of HomeFree-USA[edit]

HomeFree-USA is a nonprofit consumer and business education and outreach organization that fosters homeownership in underserved communities with a mission to elevate the financial stature within communities of color.[22] HomeFree-USA is known in the housing industry for its marketing expertise, impactful education, and for its 0% foreclosure rate among clients who have attained homeownership through the HomeFree-USA pre-purchase education and preparation program. HomeFree-USA is an industry leader overseeing a network of 58 diverse nonprofit organizations operating nationwide and values its racial and cultural diversity in staff and partnerships.

HomeFree-USA hosts the Reaching Millions Leadership and Business Development Conference each year in September. It has attracted sponsorships from organizations including Ocwen, Chase Bank, Experian, Truist, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, PNC, SWBC Mortgage, JP Morgan Chase, Rocket Mortgage, Mortgage Bankers Association, and more.[23]

HomeFree-USA is an Enterprise Partner of the National League of Cities.[24]

In Media[edit]

Griffin has appeared on C-SPAN[25], PBS (via WHUT)[26], National Mortgage News, Housing Wire, DS News, Washington Business Journal, Black Enterprise, and more as both a guest and a presenter. Her focus is always on homeownership, financial inclusion, housing supply solutions, neighborhood revitalization, marketing to communities of color and workforce diversity. She also hosted programming on mortgage readiness for WHUT, the PBS affiliate of Howard University, since the 1990s.[27]

Smart Money Moves[edit]

In 2021, Marcia was approached to bring financial tips, tools, and resources to everyday people by hosting a PBS television program on WHUT called, “Smart Money Moves: Wealth Building for Everyday People.” The program launched on January 19, 2022.[28]

Smart Money Moves is a series of twelve 30-minute episodes. Griffin and guests will provide advice, information, and resources on topics including homeownership, investing, entrepreneurship, and paying for college.[29]

Personal Life[edit]

Griffin grew up in New Orleans in the 1950s. Her father, Vernon Jonson, held a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin; her mother, Edna Minor Johnson, was educated at Southern University, an HBCU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The two instilled in her the value of education, giving back, and being the voice of the voiceless.

When Griffin was 10, Vernon Johnson was selected by President Kennedy to serve as one of the first directors of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Lagos, Nigeria. Griffin cited her time in Nigeria as changing her “perspective on life for the better.” The experience taught her the value of treating people from all walks of life with “equal kindness and appreciation and being appreciative for opportunities few blacks experienced”.

Griffin attended undergraduate studies at Fisk University, a Historically Black College and University in Nashville, TN, majoring in Sociology and Economics. She excelled in subjects at the intersection of entrepreneurship and communication, including marketing and finance. In Win or Learn: The Naked Truth: Executive Finance Leaders Bare their Souls[30], she describes her early entrepreneurial experience selling dorm room refrigerators to other students on campus. This was a break from her family’s expectation that she get “a good government job” rather than pursue entrepreneurship.

During this period, she met future husband Jim Griffin, then serving as a recruiter for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

After graduating from Fisk University, Griffin moved to Washington, D.C., where she obtained her MBA at Howard University.  

Marcia and Jim were married and lived in Chicago, where Marcia worked for several years at Leo Burnett Worldwide. After moving to Washington, D.C., Marcia worked in international trade at the Department of Commerce and explored entrepreneurship when Jim formed the first African American owned mortgage servicing company, National Loan Service Center. Seeking to address the high rate of mortgage denials and racial wealth gap exclusion, the two established HomeFree-USA in 1994 and raised four children.


Marcia Griffin is a member of numerous professional associations, including:

  • Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
  • Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Committee
  • Ocwen Financial Community Advisory Council
  • America’s Homeowner Alliance
  • Mortgage Bankers Association's Consumer Affairs Advisory Council
  • Rocket Mortgage Consumer Advisory Forum
  • Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Advisory Council


Minority Business Leader Award, Washington Business Journal 2013[31]

Woman of Influence Award, 2015[32]


  1. "Smart Money Moves". WHUTtv. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  2. Amazon Kindle page. ISBN 1954036019. Search this book on
  3. Retrieved 2022-07-18. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. "HUD Foreclosure Prevention Conference Participant Bio" (PDF). March 23, 2011.
  5. "Marcia Griffin |". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  6. "Marcia Griffin". American Banker. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  7. "Marcia J. Griffin". Americas Homeowners. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  8. Richardson, Brenda. "FHA Extends Foreclosure And Eviction Relief For Homeowners". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  9. "TransUnion and Bilt Rewards Bring Free Rent Payment Reporting to Renters and Property Managers at More Than Two Million Apartments". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  10. "HomeFree-USA Partners With VantageScore® Solutions to Expand Opportunity and Prepare HBCU Students for Financial Success". 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  11. "Rocket Mortgage & HomeFree-USA Partner with BSU in Pledge to Hire HBCU Talent | Bowie State". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  12. "User Clip: Marcia Griffin's Opening Statement at the Hearing on Mortgage Relief During the Coronavirus Pandemic |". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  13. Center, National Housing Resource (2020-07-21). "HomeFree USA President Marcia Griffin testifies before House Financial Services Committee". National Housing Resource Center. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  14. "User Clip: Marcia Griffin's Opening Statement at the Hearing on Mortgage Relief During the Coronavirus Pandemic |". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  15. "User Clip: Marcia Griffin's Opening Statement at the Hearing on Mortgage Relief During the Coronavirus Pandemic |". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  16. "Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis, National Views |". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  18. "Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael J. Hsu Speech" (PDF).
  19. "Project REACh". 2020-07-10. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  20. "Project REACh". 2020-07-10. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  21. Project REACh - National Working Group Members (
  22. Smith, Maleesa (2021-07-15). "Making the dream of homeownership a reality for underserved communities". HousingWire. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  23. "Reaching Millions Leadership and Business Development Conference". Reaching Millions Leadership and Business Development Conference. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  24. "HomeFree-USA". National League of Cities. 2021-07-13. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  25. "Marcia Griffin |". Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  26. "Smart Money Moves". WHUTtv. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  27. "Marcia Griffin – Facing the Mortgage Crisis – WHUT". Facing the Mortgage Crisis - WHUT. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  28. "Smart Money Moves". WHUTtv. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  29. "Smart Money Moves – Marcia Griffin". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  30. "Win or Learn, the Naked Truth – Marcia Griffin". Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  31. Retrieved 2022-07-18. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. Wheeler, Sarah (2015-07-31). "Meet our incredible 2015 Women of Influence". HousingWire. Retrieved 2022-07-18.

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