Without a doubt, a new financial services disclosure act, enacted by Congress and incorporating what has worked in the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, is sorely needed. Most nonmortgage lending data is still collected by myriad state agencies. Tracking foreclosures, certainly a national concern, is still a strictly local affair.
A recent proposal by the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC) would allow many smaller state banks to participate or
assist in financial education programs conducted on school premises, including
the receipt of deposits, payment of checks, or lending of money.
The Board of Directors of Woodstock Institute is pleased to announce the
appointment of Dory M. Rand as its sixth president.
“Dory Rand brings a
wealth of community reinvestment knowledge and proven ability to shape
financial services policy to promote real world benefits for lower-income
people,” says Woodstock Institute Chairperson Ada Skyles.
Foreclosures on multi-family
buildings are clearly a problem, and on an even larger scale than suggested in a recent Chicago Tribune
Hidden Victims,” June 8, 2008).
For many Chicago households, affordable housing is rental housing. In 2007, over 35 percent of the foreclosures filed in the City of Chicago affected buildings with rental units. These foreclosures put increased strain on the rental market by displacing current renters from foreclosed properties and taking foreclosed multi-family properties out of the supply of rental units.
The Ohio General Assembly passed legislation last week
that would cap interest rates on payday loans at 28 percent – following several
other states that have taken steps to drastically curtail the triple digit interest
rates charged by payday installment lenders.
The Federal Reserve announced Thursday March 27, that it
will hold public meetings on the acquisition of Countrywide Financial by Bank
of America and extend the public comment period by 30 days.
The Federal Reserve should hold public hearings on the proposed acquisition of Countrywide Financial by Bank of America. It should also extend the public comment period thirty days to give stakeholders the opportunity to review the company's lending data, to be released April 1, 2008.
Mortgages that went into foreclosure in 2007 were
predominantly from loans originated since 2005. Over 35 percent of 2007
foreclosure filings were of mortgages originated in 2006. Nearly 28 percent of
foreclosure filings were of mortgages originated in 2005. Perhaps most
surprisingly, roughly 4.5 percent of 2007 foreclosed mortgages originated in
The recently announced White House plan to offer
systematic interest rate relief for some borrowers with adjustable rate
mortgages about to reset to a higher rate is a modest, but worthwhile approach
to a growing crisis.
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.