Woodstock Institute President Dory Rand brings a wealth of community reinvestment knowledge and a proven ability to shape financial services policy to the challenge of promoting economic security and community prosperity for lower-wealth people.
“I’m interested in using lessons learned from behavioral economics to create public policies and financial products that foster a sound financial system and help everyone safely borrow, save and invest for long-term financial security,” says Dory. “I find my job fulfilling because Woodstock Institute’s work helps to close the wealth gap by increasing opportunities for lower-wealth households and communities of color to thrive and prosper.”
Dory joined Woodstock Institute after 12 years at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago; most recently, she served as the supervising attorney of the Center’s Community Investment Unit.
Dory has long advocated for lower-wealth people on welfare law and public financial issues at the local, state, and national levels. She has published extensively, presented at many national conferences, and appeared in national and local media, including American Banker and the Chicago Tribune.
Meanwhile, she emphasizes the importance of collaborating with others on key issues. “I feel fortunate to work with the talented Woodstock team and colleagues around the country in creating innovative solutions to some of the most significant financial issues of our lifetime,” she says.
Dory received a B.A. and J.D. from The Ohio State University.
Recent posts by Dory Rand
Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate or cut funding for federal programs and agencies designed to protect homeowners, consumers, and investors reflect the same flawed thinking that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted was wrong when he testified before Congress in October 2008. Greenspan, a longtime champion of deregulation, said that he had been mistaken to put so much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and that he had failed to anticipate the foreclosure and economic crisis that such deregulation ultimately generated.
Debate is brewing across the country about what shape our housing finance system should take in the years to come. As consumer advocates, we need to ensure that the system that emerges from these discussions meets the needs of low-wealth people seeking affordable and sustainable housing.
The new housing finance system must support broad access to the products that made home ownership, the primary means of building wealth for many Americans, a reality for communities that otherwise would have been overlooked. It’s worth noting that, from the aftermath of the Great Depression to the beginning of the new millennium, government-sponsored entities (GSEs) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ensured the flow of responsible credit to underserved communities and considerably expanded homeownership opportunities.
For the first time, all tax filers have the opportunity to easily grow their savings by purchasing Series I U.S. Savings Bonds directly through their federal income tax returns in 2011. Tax filers may buy bonds for themselves, their children or grandchildren, or others. This is a welcome development that will help many lower-wealth taxpayers use some of their tax refunds to build savings and assets in a safe and simple way.
I was saddened to learn yesterday that Sargent Shriver had died. A great humanitarian and brilliant public servant, he will be sorely missed. Fortunately, there are people around the world who will continue the work against poverty and injustice for which he is so well known.
Looking back on the past year, I am thankful that financial justice champions made significant progress at the local, state and national levels. While we certainly did not get everything we asked for on our wish lists, we got more than the equivalent of lumps of coal in the form of new laws, rules, and programs. Woodstock Institute was pleased to collaborate with colleagues on many of the 2010 successes, including the following:
The longer this foreclosure crisis drags on, the clearer it is that voluntary loan modification programs are inadequate to meet the needs of millions of borrowers with homes worth less than the mortgages. A recent commentary published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland shows how an old tool could be used in this new context to help underwater borrowers.
Congress has an opportunity to spur job creation and recovery from the foreclosure crisis—and at little cost to the taxpayer.
As the recession drags on, policymakers and community leaders are searching for strategies to encourage job creation, investment in neighborhoods, and a return to economic stability. The findings from our latest report, however, depict troubling barriers to recovery—particularly in communities hit hardest by the financial crisis.
Community leaders turned out in force at the Community Reinvestment Act hearing held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on August 12 (see photos). The Chicago hearing was the third of four such hearings being held by federal banking regulators this summer to discuss whether and how to revise rules implementing the CRA’s requirement that federally insured depository banks meet the credit and financial services needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income communities, consistent with safe and sound practices. The CRA became law in 1977 and current CRA rules have not been updated since 1995.
People with disabilities, advocates, and government officials recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the White House. While acknowledging that much progress has been made, participants agreed there is still a long way to go to achieve inclusion and opportunities for the one in five U.S. residents who have disabilities—that’s 54 million people, including 7 million who receive federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Now that President Obama has signed the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) into law, what’s next? The media are currently obsessed with whom the President will select as the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (we agree it must be a strong CFPB director with a pro-consumer track record), but there is much more on the horizon.
Woodstock Institute is excited to announce the addition of five new members to its board of directors. The new board members come from diverse backgrounds and have substantial expertise in the areas of asset-building, housing counseling, financial services, and community development.
In a Washington Post article entitled “From the oil spill to the financial crisis,” U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and author Richard Posner described some of the reasons why we don’t adequately prepare for risks. Regarding the financial crisis, for example, he said,
Woodstock Institute applauds the Senate for taking a bold stand on behalf of America’s consumers. The Restoring American Financial Stability Act passed last night lays the groundwork for a healthier financial system that will hold banks accountable, protect consumers, and be more transparent—and, ultimately, help prevent another devastating financial crisis.
Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has refused requests of Woodstock Institute and colleagues for a meeting to discuss the deleterious effects of its consumer lending and mortgage loan modification practices on our communities, but I finally got a chance to speak to him directly at the Chase shareholder meeting in New York on May 18.
Woodstock Institute and consumer advocate allies cheered when they learned on April 27 that JP Morgan Chase is exiting the business of providing about 1.5 million high-cost consumer loans annually based on expected income tax refunds (refund anticipation loans, or RALs). Chase stated its reasons for exiting are that these products are not “a strategic fit” with its business and that it faced “increased regulatory scrutiny.” On behalf of Woodstock, I commend Chase for (finally) doing the right thing.
As some of us scramble to file our income tax returns, others have long since filed. Unfortunately, many lower-wealth tax filers who need the assistance of tax preparers got ripped off with high-cost preparation fees and refund anticipation loans, or RALs – to the tune of $114 million in Illinois in 2006 alone. Faster delivery of refunds by the Internal Revenue Service and a little patience by tax filers can eliminate the demand for RALs, but many will still need the assistance of tax preparers to file their returns. How can tax filers pay for tax preparation services without getting caught up in RALs?
Financial reform is at a critical juncture in Washington. The House has already passed a bill to create a strong and independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to put consumers’ interests over those of Wall Street and crack down on the risky lending that spurred the financial crisis. However, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) continues to compromise the agency’s independence in the interest of bipartisan support.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a Policy Statement on Tax-Related Products and a Consumer Advisory on February 18, one month into the current tax season. The OCC is the U.S. Treasury Department agency that regulates national banks. Several national banks offer tax refund anticipation loans or RALs through partnerships with tax preparation services.
While Woodstock Institute is deeply engaged in national and local efforts to implement financial reforms, we also have occasion to explore financial issues with colleagues around the globe. Most recently, I was invited to participate in conversations surrounding community reinvestment issues in France. As a result of a meeting held in Paris on January 30, French bankers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), economists, and other decision makers are considering pursuing laws similar to the United States’ Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).