As banks and other lenders across the country tighten credit requirements and close down lending facilities, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) continue to make quality investments in underserved neighborhoods.
The Federal Reserve is set to take unprecedented measures to protect consumers from the credit card industry’s worst practices, such as interest rate hikes on existing balances. The final rule, expected to pass today, is the culmination of over two years of debate on how to best protect consumers from the arbitrary interest rate hikes and high fees that have come to characterize the $970 billion industry.
The Office of Thrift
Supervision, in response to numerous comments from Chicago region community organizations, has agreed
to hold a public hearing regarding a charter change for Republic Bancorp–a provider of high-cost refund anticipation loans.
Maps of neighborhood foreclosures and lender-owned, largely vacant properties, based on Woodstock Institute foreclosure data, are now available through EveryBlock, an online resource for block-by-block neighborhood news.
A new analysis finds that these properties are highly concentrated in African American and Latino communities.
To help combat the growing lending crisis and the rise of
foreclosures in Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is
investing $68 million in grants and low-interest loans in foreclosure
prevention and mitigation efforts in local neighborhoods.
In recent months numerous critics have unfairly blamed the current financial crisis on efforts to increase lower-income homeownership.
Chicago Tonight’s Carol Marin and Elizabeth Brackett sit down with Geoff Smith, Woodstock Institute’s vice president, to discuss why rising foreclosures and the national financial crisis are changing the face of Chicago region communities.
While the current Treasury plan may “unclog” the capital
markets and allow for increased access to lending for large firms, it fails to
address one the fundamental problems in today’s economy: troubled homeowners.
Foreclosure is a local problem. To help solve it,
Woodstock Institute provides the facts on the ground, the analysis to identify
the problem, and the technical assistance to help measure local successes. Its
newest resource, a quarterly update on foreclosure patterns in the Chicago region, provides
timely foreclosure data directly to the people who need it - community
reinvestment stakeholders working to prevent foreclosures before they happen
and reduce the community impact when they do.
As a major tax refund lender seeks to change charters, the Office of Thrift Supervision needs to hold a hearing to give the public a chance to tell its side of the story about high cost refund anticipation lending.
The five key issues that must be addressed to reduce the neighborhood impact of lender-owned properties as investors shun Chicago region foreclosure auctions.
“Bait and switch clauses, double-cycle billing, and cut-off times
designed to rack up late fees––these are the practices that are
specifically prohibited by H.R. 5244,” said Woodstock President Dory
What kind of contract can be changed at any time for any
reason by one party often to the detriment of the other? Credit card contracts, but hopefully not for
Loans at as much as 2,500 percent will still be business as usual for
nearly every major financial institution, with most bank customers
automatically, and often unknowingly, enrolled.