Four nationally recognized community reinvestment groups roundly commended the proposal of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila C. Bair to freeze so-called “hybrid” mortgages at the introductory rate.
“This is the kind of leadership that has been long absent among banking regulators and Congress and we commend Chairman Bair for her creative and timely action,” said Malcolm Bush, President of Woodstock Institute.
A coalition of community reinvestment, labor, and religious organizations was announced Wednesday, August 22 during the release of a study predicting substantial job loss and a decline in tax revenue as a result of the acquisition of LaSalle Bank by Bank of America. The coalition, convened by SEIU Local 1, is asking for a firm commitment from Bank of America to protect local jobs, increase lending presence in minority communities and invest in local communities. Citing a similar takeover in 2004 of Bostons Fleet Bank when a community coalition successfully ensured Bank of America altered merger plans to preserve thousands of local jobs, area community leaders are calling on the nations largest bank to do the same for Chicago.
In recognition of its 34 years of work to increase access
to economic and financial resources in lower-income and minority communities,
Woodstock Institute was a recipient of the 2007 John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Organizations. The award includes a major grant to increase
institutional capacity and ensure the long-term stability of Woodstock
Institute. The seven awardees included:
Action Health Incorporated, a reproductive rights organization in Nigeria, the Institute for Security and
Democracy, a policy reform organization in Mexico City,
the Institute for Law and Public Policy, a group that champions constitutional
and legal reform in Russia,
and another Chicago
organization, the prize winning documentary film organization, Kartemquin
Thousands of taxpayers loaded up on debt early this year
using a new variation of tax refund loan available in mid-November often called
a holiday loan. Based on a taxpayers projected tax and calculated using tax
information printed on their pay stub, these pre-filing season refund loans
cost low-income taxpayers millions and often lock them into additional tax
refund loans or other unnecessary and expensive tax preparation products. But there is good newsall three national
banks, which funded the loans offered by storefront tax preparers such as
H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, announced that they would not offer these
types of loans next tax season.
Federal regulators examine how the largest banks deliver financial services to communities throughout the Chicago region incompletely and inconsistently says a new report by Woodstock Institute research staff. Looking at recent bank examinations, Woodstock Institute researchers tried to determine how federal examiners evaluated the distribution of bank branches and the quality and relative affordability of basic financial services, such as checking accounts.
Credit unions can offer sustainable, affordable short term credit at a fraction of the cost of traditional payday lenders, says a recent report by Marva Williams, until recently Woodstock Institute senior vice president.
The recently exposed problems in the subprime lending
segment of the mortgage market should come as no surprise. Too many lenders offered too many loans with
payments that seemed affordable during a brief introductory period, but
skyrocketed shortly thereafter--leaving borrowers in foreclosure and
Saving for retirement just got a little easier, thanks to
a recently reworked tax credit available to lower-income families contributing
to a retirement account. Made permanent
as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, the Credit will provide
approximately $10 billion dollars in tax benefits to about 5.5 million
lower-income people over the next 10 years.
Too many borrowers have ended up with loans that were
barely affordable during a brief introductory period, but quickly became
burdensome or even ruinous after the interest rate ratcheted upwards. A recent poll suggests that fully one third
of borrowers who have taken out adjustable rate mortgage loans are uncertain they
will be able to afford the loan after the introductory rate and another third
simply plan to refinance. Even more
troubling, the wide variety of exotic loan products being aggressively marketed
to potential homebuyers has created an environment where 34 percent of
borrowers do not know whether their mortgage has an adjustable or fixed rate.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has recently
expressed its concerns about young people around the world experiencing weak
connections to the adult world of work.
The ILO believes that in southern tier countries the major issue is the
supply of jobs. But workforce issues,
the skills of young people and their connection to job markest are also
important. In 2005 the Lula government in Brazil
echoed these concerns with the launching of its Pro Jovens program designed to
subsidize employers who provide jobs to youth.
A new study written by Malcolm Bush, Woodstock Institute president and board member of the International Center for the Study of Childhood (CIESPI) at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, using data generously provided by the Rio based
Instituto de Estudos do Trabahlo e Sociedade, points to the problems facing
young people in one low-income community in Rio, Caju,
but also to the diversity of the young people´s educational and work