Katie Buitrago

Katie Buitrago

Katie contributes to Woodstock’s policy development, outreach, coalition building, and communications efforts. Katie also contributes to Woodstock's research and analysis, including reports on the disparate impacts of negative equity on Chicago area communities and racial disparities in FHA/VA lending. Interests include impacts of and solutions to the foreclosure crisis, homeownership preservation, community reinvestment, consumer finance, student debt, financial reform, and financial security over the life cycle. Her projects include crafting informative and engaging communications strategies for economic security issues, assisting the convening of the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative, and developing ways to make Woodstock's data and research more accessible and interactive.

“I combine data-driven policy analysis and effective communication strategies to advocate for better policy solutions to issues facing low-wealth communities and communities of color,” says Katie.

Prior to joining the Woodstock Institute, Katie gained experience in research and communications as a reporter and intern at Chicago Public Radio and the Chicago Reader.

Katie is pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and received her B.A. with honors in Public Policy Studies and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago.

Recent posts by Katie Buitrago

Written by Katie Buitrago on February 6, 2015 - 2:11pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s student loan team, led by Rohit Chopra, won two major victories for student borrowers over the past week. New guidance encouraging private student lenders to make loans more affordable will set up more borrowers to succeed, even when they are un- or underemployed. An agreement that includes significant debt relief for students who received predatory loans from a poorly-performing for-profit college will give thousands of students a fresh start to seek out a better education.

Written by Katie Buitrago on January 26, 2015 - 3:21pm

This post originally appeared on Civic Tech Voices  

At Woodstock Institute, our mission is to advance economic justice, particularly for low-wealth communities and communities of color. To move towards this goal, we prepare data concerning economic justice and empower others to use and understand it. As our national partners at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition say, data drive the movement. 

Written by Katie Buitrago on September 9, 2014 - 4:22pm

When a consumer has a bad experience with a financial institution, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gives him or her a powerful tool to hold that institution accountable: the consumer complaint system. CFPB is now accepting complaints on a wide variety of financial products and services, including mortgages, student loans, bank accounts, debt collection, and more.

Written by Katie Buitrago on July 21, 2014 - 6:03pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is blowing out the candles on its third birthday cake today, and I hope their hard-working staff is taking a moment to celebrate a job well done. They’ve made substantial progress towards their mission of “making financial markets work for American consumers — whether they’re applying for a mortgage, borrowing for college, choosing a credit card, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”

Written by Katie Buitrago on May 28, 2014 - 2:34pm

Westwood College, a for-profit university, attracts students with a promise of a law enforcement career upon graduation.

Written by Katie Buitrago on May 19, 2014 - 2:20pm

Some career education programs promise students a bright future, but many graduates of such schools find that they don’t have the right credentials for their careers—and a shockingly high percentage never graduate at all.

Written by Katie Buitrago on April 8, 2014 - 1:11pm

If you work hard, you should be able to retire with dignity. However, over half of private-sector workers in Illinois don't have access to a retirement savings account at their workplace. This leaves a growing number of seniors unable to make ends meet during retirement.

Written by Katie Buitrago on March 26, 2014 - 12:35pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is in the “late stages” of making a rule to regulate payday lenders. It is critical to let them know that the rule should not include loopholes that lenders can exploit to make expensive, unregulated loans.

CFPB press conference
Written by Katie Buitrago on March 10, 2014 - 2:49pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) made allegations last week that one of the nation’s largest for-profit colleges, ITT Educational Services, is pushing students into high-cost student loans that are built to fail. This is the CFPB’s first enforcement action against a for-profit college.

Written by Katie Buitrago on February 25, 2014 - 12:41pm
Bad news for consumers: a bill that aims to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is likely to come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.
Written by Katie Buitrago on December 5, 2013 - 12:00am
Vacant homes are posing obstacles to recovery for communities throughout the Chicago region and beyond.
Written by Katie Buitrago on November 8, 2013 - 10:29am
The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) recently announced an important new resource for municipalities looking to reduce the negative impacts of vacant residential buildings on their communities.
Written by Katie Buitrago on October 28, 2013 - 3:51pm

In 2011, the federal banking regulators released rules defining a “Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM).” The definition of a QRM matters to the communities we serve because it will substantially affect how affordable mortgages will be.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 15, 2013 - 3:21pm

How can organizations from different sectors overcome barriers and collaborate to promote a housing market recovery and revitalize communities?

Written by Katie Buitrago on September 24, 2013 - 12:00am

We have a unique opportunity to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) our concerns at a hearing CFPB will hold in Chicago on October 2.

Written by Katie Buitrago on September 18, 2013 - 12:01pm

Integrated, diverse communities benefit everyone, but segregation and concentrated poverty still plague municipalities across the country. That’s why it continues to be important to have federal rules that require localities that receive federal funding to affirmatively further fair housing goals.

Written by Katie Buitrago on September 13, 2013 - 10:59am

Diverse and integrated communities benefit all of us, and it’s critical that fair housing goals are reinforced by the federal government.

Written by Katie Buitrago on September 11, 2013 - 10:37am

In a little under a month, Woodstock Institute will celebrate its 40th anniversary at Babies, Boomers, & Beyond: Economic Security Across the Lifespan. If you’re on the edge about whether to attend, here are four great reasons to buy tickets today:

Written by Katie Buitrago on August 26, 2013 - 2:23pm

CHICAGO—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not be required to maintain vacant homes up to the standards in the City of Chicago’s vacant buildings ordinance, ruled U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin on Friday. 

Written by Katie Buitrago on August 22, 2013 - 11:22am

Is student debt keeping you up at night? You’re not alone: student debt loads now reach more than $1 trillion across the country and much of the debt isn’t being repaid