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.
"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.
Encouraging simple, low-cost financial products through the Obama administration’s proposed financial watchdog agency would increase consumer choice and product innovation, not restrict it.
Woodstock Institute supports the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), the new consumer watchdog agency proposed by the Obama administration. But this new agency must be endowed with broad authority protect consumers and communities from the financial industry’s worst practices. Regrettably, this crucial power was omitted in H.R.3126 now being considered by the House. The authority to implement and modernize CRA should fall to the CFPA and we call on Chairman Frank and members of the House Committee on Financial Services to reinstate this important provision.
On Tuesday, July 28th Woodstock will host a statewide conference call to explain the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency and offer critical opportunities for advocacy.
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.