On Wednesday, June 17, President Obama announced his administration's sweeping, important, and positive changes to the ways in which financial markets are regulated. Along with Americans for Financial Reform, a
200-plus member coalition dedicated to reforming the financial system
and rebuilding our economy, Woodstock Institute has offered several recommendations.
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and dozens of Chicago region community reinvestment stakeholders, including Woodstock Institute, met outside Wells Fargo offices in Chicago to demand “Jobs & Homes Now!”
Measuring how well a bank provides basic banking services to low-wealth consumers could be done using existing data, according to a study released by Woodstock Institute analyzing marketing data from one large bank.
The Consumer Installment Loan Reform Act (SB 1435) was defeated in the House Executive Committee on Tuesday night with one aye vote, two nay votes, and eight present votes. SB 1435 would have ensured that all Illinoisans have access to credit with reasonable rates and protections to guard against the cycle of debt.
The results of the financial “stress tests” conducted banking regulators offers about as clear a picture of the stability of the nation’s largest financial institutions as we are likely to get. With the removal of at least a bit of uncertainty about the future of individual financial institutions, there is a real opportunity to turn public attention towards the future of the regulatory landscape for the financial services sector as whole. Woodstock believes that this future should offer increased transparency, stronger accountability to public financial services needs, and a minimum safety standard for financial products.
The U.S. Senate passed credit card reform legislation on May 19 that would limit some of the most abusive practices by lenders and require lenders to ensure that college students have the ability to repay credit card debts.
A recent fact sheet released by Woodstock Institute shows that in the Chicago Six County area foreclosure filing activity increased by over 36 percent between the first quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.
Millions of Americans are mired in credit card debt and Washington is trying
to reign in credit card companies for what many consider to be abusive
and deceptive practices. Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute discussed the impact of credit cards on low-wealth consumers and communities of color on Eddie Arruza's Chicago Tonight segment, The Bottom Line.
Chicago – With growing pressure for stronger oversight of federal investments in major financial institutions and the results of the stress tests made public, community advocates throughout the Chicago region met at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to ask the next big question–when will lending and investment in low-wealth communities pick up?
In recent months numerous articles
have unfairly blamed the current financial crisis on efforts to increase lower-income
homeownership. The Wall Street Journal's "Regulation Didn't Save Canada's Banks," by Marie-Josee
Kravis is just the latest.
In the mid 1990s, changes to the Community Reinvestment Act set off a series of community reinvestment agreements between Chicago-region community reinvestment advocates and the City’s largest financial institutions. One of the earliest of these agreements in Chicago was negotiated by Woodstock Institute and the Chicago CRA Coalition during the acquisition of First Chicago NBD by Bank One in 1998. The agreement resulted in a commitment from Bank One to carry out a pilot of a “second chance” checking product that was eventually expanded successfully to all of Bank One’s markets.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ recent report entitled “The CRA and Subprime Lending: Discerning the Difference” concludes that the Community Reinvestment Act “is unequivocally not to blame for the housing market’s fall. The numbers just don’t add up.” Moreover, data from the Board’s staff report suggest that the CRA prevented the subprime situation from being more severe.
Woodstock Institute joined Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias
and the Community Reinvestment
Organizing Project in announcing the adoption of the state’s Commitment
to Community Reinvestment Policy. The policy requires all
state depositories to certify that they provide access to mortgages, financial
services and small business lending throughout their service area, including
Woodstock Institute joined Senator
Durbin on May 4 to announce S.566,
a bill to create Financial Products Safety Commission. The commission,
originally proposed by Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Congressional Oversight
Panel, would monitor the products and services offered by financial institutions
and work to eliminate the negative impact of financial products on
Critics of the CRA (Community
Reinvestment Act) have claimed the act played a key role in the subprime
meltdown, but numbers don’t support that claim, according to research recently
released by a multi-state collaboration of regional research, policy, and