CHICAGO—Both foreclosure filings and foreclosure auctions declined substantially in the Chicago six county region between 2013 and 2014, new data from Woodstock Institute show. Foreclosure filings, which indicate the beginning of the foreclosure process, fell by 33.7 percent in the Chicago six county region between 2013 and 2014. Foreclosure auctions, which indicate the completion of the foreclosure process and transfer to new owners, declined by 22.4 percent in the Chicago six county region over the same time period.

Having administered a large-scale financial education program and evaluation back in 2001-2003, I read with interest CFPB's recent "Financial well-being: The goal of financial education" report in preparation for the Consumer Advisory Board public meeting on February 19. I wasn't surprised that a key finding is that "factual knowledge in and of itself is not sufficient to drive behavior or behavior change." The authors astutely framed the discussion as being about not only financial knowledge, skills, and execution, but also about fostering an environment where people have the opportunity to develop and exercise those skills. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is coming under fire in Congress. The CFPB supervises the activities of banks with over $10 billion in assets. The “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Examination and Reporting Threshold Act of 2014” would change the CFPB “big bank” threshold from at least $10 billion in assets to at least $50 billion in assets, decreasing the number of banks the CFPB currently supervises by two-thirds. The Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFPB authority to supervise the largest banks in the United States, but changing the threshold would make a big impact on the number of banks the CFPB monitors and an even bigger impact on the number of consumers the CFPB could protect.

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