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Written by Dory Rand on December 16, 2009

The U.S. House of Representatives made a historic vote in favor of consumers by passing H.R. 4173, the “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009,” on December 11. This bill would create an agency with authority to set strong protections for financial products, such as mortgages, payday loans, and credit cards.

Written by Katie Buitrago on December 15, 2009

A conference entitled “Mortgage Foreclosure Policy: Past, Present, and Future” brought together leading practitioners and scholars of the foreclosure crisis at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to highlight national and local efforts to combat foreclosures, engage in critical discussion of the causes of and solutions to the crisis, and develop plans to avoid future foreclosure crises.

Written by Katie Buitrago on December 8, 2009

This fall, President Obama announced an important change to tax returns that will make saving easier, particularly for new savers. As of this upcoming tax season, filers who receive a refund will be able to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds with part of their refund money simply by checking a box on their return.

Written by Katie Buitrago on December 7, 2009

Crucial financial reform legislation is hitting the floor of the House of Representatives this week, including a bill to enact the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Written by Katie Buitrago on December 4, 2009

The Savings for American Families' Future Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 1961) would expand access to retirement savings for low- and moderate-wealth Americans.

Written by Katie Buitrago on December 1, 2009

The Department of the Treasury released its fourth report card on how mortgage lenders are doing modifying loans for eligible homeowners under the government’s Making Home Affordable program (see the first, second and third report cards). Eighteen lenders started modifications for less than 20% of their eligible loans, below the national average. Only ten lenders modified more than 20% of their eligible loans. Last month, seventeen lenders modified fewer loans than the national average, while nine lenders modified more loans than the national average.

Written by Katie Buitrago on November 24, 2009

Groups advocating on behalf of Illinois residents threatened by foreclosures recently won two important victories: the approval of a $3 million Cook County budget allocation for foreclosure mediation and the passage of a bill in the Illinois General Assembly empowering municipalities to better address the problem of vacant and foreclosed properties in their communities.

Written by Katie Buitrago on November 18, 2009

The Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative, a network of organizations working collaboratively to develop coordinated and robust solutions to the foreclosure crisis, is happy to announce the launch of the Regional HOPI website, www.regionalhopi.org.

Tags: foreclosures
Written by Katie Buitrago on November 16, 2009

The battle for financial services reform is being fought on national and local fronts on issues such as creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency and ensuring effective local responses to the foreclosure crisis. During its annual Fall Forum, the Illinois Community Investment Coalition brought together some of those on the front lines to reflect on the progress we’ve made so far and outline what’s left to be done.

Written by Dory Rand on November 10, 2009

The regulatory reform proposal released today by Chairman Dodd (D-CT) goes a long way to ensuring that consumers and communities across the country have access to safe, affordable, and sustainable financial products.   We believe that the proposal brings us closer to ending the assumption that some financial institutions are too big to fail, protecting the financial system against systemic risk, creating a single federal banking regulator, and enforcing the consumer protections that have gone unenforced for far too long.  

Written by Katie Buitrago on November 5, 2009

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted this week to accelerate the implementation of the Credit CARD Act, which will provide protections from some abusive credit card practices.

Tags: credit cards
Written by Katie Buitrago on November 3, 2009

New foreclosure filings in the Chicago metro area have returned to first-quarter 2009 levels after a slowdown in the second quarter, says the latest Woodstock Institute analysis of regional foreclosure activity. This sharp increase likely reflects federal and state interventions that delayed new filings in the second quarter until the third quarter.

Tags: foreclosures
Written by Katie Buitrago on October 30, 2009

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) introduced bills in October targeted at curbing some of the abusive practices of overdraft protection programs. A recent Woodstock report cited the impact of overdraft programs on older persons and found that this product, and other high cost forms of credit, may increase economic insecurity later in life.

Written by Dory Rand and Tom Feltner on October 22, 2009

Over major opposition from the financial industry and nearly all Republican committee members, the House Financial Services Committee today passed HR 3126, which would create the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to protect consumers from abusive and deceptive financial products and practices.  Advocates are hopeful that the bill will be strengthened in the Senate where Woodstock and others are pushing for agency oversight of the Community Reinvestment Act, which has been severely weakened under the current regulatory structure.

Written by Katie Buitrago on October 21, 2009

Woodstock Institute applauds Rep. Melissa Bean’s (D-IL) decision to withdraw her amendment to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) Act that would allow large national banks to override state consumer protection laws.

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