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 effect of demographics and institutional characteristics on student debt, disparate impacts of negative equity on Chicago area communities and racial disparities in FHA/VA lending. Interests include student debt reform, impacts of and solutions to the foreclosure crisis, homeownership preservation, community reinvestment, consumer finance, 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 received her Master of Public Policy from 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 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

Written by Katie Buitrago on August 14, 2013 - 3:51pm

Woodstock Institute is thrilled to announce Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan as the speaker at our 40th anniversary Bash on October 2. General Madigan joins a fantastic lineup of Symposium keynote speakers, including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Deputy Director Steve Antonakes and UCLA Professor Fernando Torres-Gil.

Written by Katie Buitrago on August 8, 2013 - 11:13am
The Consumer Credit Access, Innovation, and Modernization Act (H.R. 1566) does anything but promote credit access, innovation, and modernization.
Written by Katie Buitrago on August 5, 2013 - 12:06pm
Cinthya Melero’s and Luis Barajas’ house was giving them nothing but headaches. The small row house they rented in Pullman, dating from the 1880s, had become too small for their family.
Written by Katie Buitrago on July 24, 2013 - 12:00pm

On the surface, the Consumer Mortgage Choice Act (HR.1077/S.949) sounds like legislation that would be good for consumers.  In actuality, it poses some serious threats to mortgage protections recently put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Rep. Watt
Written by Katie Buitrago on June 11, 2013 - 11:54am

While some headlines claim that the housing market is recovering, we know that too many homeowners have not.  

Richard Cordray
Written by Katie Buitrago on May 23, 2013 - 12:53am
Thank you to everyone who received our email earlier this week and made calls to Sen. Kirk’s office urging him to support Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently decided to postpone the vote on Director Cordray’s confirmation until July.
Written by Katie Buitrago on May 15, 2013 - 3:32pm
The Community Reinvestment Act has been instrumental in promoting investment and financial services in low- and moderate-income communities, but it hasn’t kept pace with changes in the financial industry. We have an opportunity today to let bank regulators know that it’s high time to update Community Reinvestment Act for the modern era.
Written by Katie Buitrago on May 14, 2013 - 1:54pm
Bank regulators released proposed rules on April 30 that, at long last, would enact strong consumer protections for “deposit advance products”—essentially, payday loans offered by a...
Written by Katie Buitrago on May 1, 2013 - 6:35pm
We applaud President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Rep. Watt is a candidate with strong qualifications in economic policy who understands the issues facing consumers in the financial marketplace. Rep. Watt has served in Congress for 20 years and is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he has advocated for affordable housing, fair lending, and consumer protections. In 2009, he co-sponsored the Credit CARD Act that enacted important protections for credit card borrowers.  
Written by Katie Buitrago on April 26, 2013 - 2:03pm

CHICAGO—Proposed new guidance released today by two of the federal banking regulators could put an end to the worst practices of payday lending by  banks. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposed standards that the banks they regulate would have to comply with regarding what they call “deposit advance” features on bank accounts and reloadable prepaid cards. 

Written by Katie Buitrago on April 11, 2013 - 2:47pm
Concern is growing among advocates, regulators, and the media about the increasingly enormous level of student loan debt in the United States. Outstanding student debt grew to over $1 trillion dollars in 2013, with private loans making up roughly $150 billion of that amount. Compared to federal student loans, private student loans are often more expensive, are more commonly marketed with questionable practices, and have fewer options for making payments more affordable if a borrower falls on hard times. There are at least 850,000 individual private student loans in default, totaling roughly $150 million.
Written by Katie Buitrago on March 7, 2013 - 10:43pm
They’re at it again: 43 Republican Senators vowed to block the confirmation of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray unless the CFPB is stripped of its independence. We need your help to make sure that the CFPB has the authority and leadership it needs to make the financial marketplace safe for consumers.
Written by Katie Buitrago on February 21, 2013 - 12:12am

The foreclosure crisis left many communities with a dilemma: vacant homes are accumulating quickly at the same time as fewer and fewer people can qualify for mortgages to buy those homes. What can be done with the growing inventory of vacant, abandoned homes? One solution gathering attention is renting out single-family homes, but some communities are wary due to a history with irresponsible landlords, while some investors are struggling to find ways to manage properties effectively. Municipalities, real estate investors, property managers, researchers, and other stakeholders gathered together at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on January 30, 2013 for a forum on Single-Family Rental Strategies: Managing the Next Steps of the Foreclosure Crisis.

Written by Katie Buitrago on January 17, 2013 - 11:09pm
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released important new rules today that protect homeowners facing foreclosure when they interact with the financial institutions, called servicers, that handle their loans. The mortgage servicing rules also introduce new clarity to the mortgage payment process for all homeowners, regardless of whether they are in default.
Written by Katie Buitrago on January 16, 2013 - 8:42pm

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to approve an ordinance establishing the Cook County Land Bank Authority. We applaud Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Board President Preckwinkle, and the rest of the commissioners for leading a campaign against the blight and abandonment that are holding back Cook County communities.

Written by Katie Buitrago on January 10, 2013 - 7:07pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released rules today designed to prevent mortgage lenders from making risky, unaffordable loans. These ability-to-repay rules require that lenders document and verify information demonstrating that a borrower can afford a loan and define a class of mortgages, called Qualified Mortgages (QM), that are presumed to comply with the ability-to-repay rules.