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 August 5, 2009 - 3:16pm

The banking industry, led in part by the American Bankers Association (ABA), has been launching an assault on the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). In testimony before Congress and letters to bank CEOs, the trade group has been spreading myths about the CFPA, which would promote fairness, transparency, and real disclosure for financial products.
Woodstock takes on these myths one by one.

Written by Katie Buitrago on July 30, 2009 - 12:25pm

A key part of the Obama administration’s Financial Stability Plan is the Making Home Affordable program, which encourages banks to renegotiate mortgages for the millions of homeowners facing the threat of foreclosure by giving subsidies to lenders.

Written by Katie Buitrago on July 28, 2009 - 4:54pm

Last week, in testimony to the House Committee on Financial Services, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke argued that his agency is best equipped to protect consumers from abusive or deceptive financial products—a role assigned to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) proposed by the Obama administration.
GAO-09-837, TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM: Treasury Actions Needed to Make the Home Affordable Modification Program More Transparent and Accountable

Written by Katie Buitrago on July 20, 2009 - 3:19pm

Today the New York Times released a story investigating
the troubling trend of out-of-work subprime mortgage lenders repackaging
themselves as loan modification specialists who promise to lower their clients’
monthly payments and avoid foreclosure—for an up-front fee, of course.
Oftentimes, these loan “specialists” disappear after taking the initial fee of
several thousand dollars, sinking their clients even further into the hole. In
a cruel twist, the people running these loan modification schemes issued the same
kinds of high-cost loans that brought their clients to the point of foreclosure
in the first place.

Written by Katie Buitrago on July 20, 2009 - 11:31am

"Mud people.” That’s how Wells Fargo loan officers described
minority borrowers in Baltimore, according to an affidavit signed by a former
employee. Wells Fargo is now facing a lawsuit
from the City of Baltimore accusing the bank of systematically steering
minority borrowers toward high-cost subprime loans—or, as some employees
allegedly dubbed them, “ghetto loans.