On behalf of Woodstock Institute staff and our board of directors, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and thank you for your support over the last year. We had many accomplishments, but I’ll highlight just a few of them:
Join Woodstock staff and allies from around the country for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) annual conference in Washington D.C. The 2015 conference will take place from March 25 – 28 and registration is open!
Revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Questions and Answers proposed by federal banking regulators are open for public comment until November 10. The revisions target retail banking and community development to help ensure that banks meet the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) people and communities.
Mortgage data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) allows researchers and advocates to examine trends in the mortgage and housing market and, more importantly, detect patterns of discrimination.
A troubling new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that many of the problems in the subprime mortgage market that precipitated the housing crisis may be occurring with private student loans as well.
When a consumer has a bad experience with a financial institution, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) gives him or her a powerful tool to hold that institution accountable: the consumer complaint system. CFPB is now accepting complaints on a wide variety of financial products and services, including mortgages, student loans, bank accounts, debt collection, and more.
When I read “Dis-Credited,” Woodstock Institute’s recent study on racial and income disparities in business lending, I saw in black and white what I have also experienced in flesh and blood.
Woodstock Institute’s most recent report highlights disparities in access to small business loans in the Chicago region. Between 2008 and 2012, businesses in wealthier or predominantly white Census tracts were more likely to receive loans or credit from major financial institutions than businesses in low-income and majority-minority tracts. This creates a substantial business credit gap and allows for little room for businesses in low-income and majority-minority communities to grow. Essentially, marginalized communities become even more marginalized through unbalanced bank lending. However, there is another demographic that also struggles to get the small business loans they need: women.
Shark Week is a summertime staple from the Discovery Channel, but this year, advocates are targeting a different kind of shark: loan sharks. While sharks in the ocean prey on fish and other aquatic animals, payday lenders, also known as loan sharks, prey on people in need by offering them loans with high interest rates that are difficult to pay off.
Results of mystery shopping conducted by Woodstock Institute and allies in four cities across the country reveal that banks often provide confusing and inaccurate information to consumers about overdraft programs and fees for checking accounts. The report released today by California Reinvestment Coalition of Oakland, CA; New Economy Project of New York City, NY; Reinvestment Partners of Durham, NC; and Woodstock Institute of Chicago, IL, calls on federal banking regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to strengthen consumer protections for all overdraft products and improve oversight of banks who offer overdraft products.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is blowing out the candles on its third birthday cake today, and I hope their hard-working staff is taking a moment to celebrate a job well done. They’ve made substantial progress towards their mission of “making financial markets work for American consumers — whether they’re applying for a mortgage, borrowing for college, choosing a credit card, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”
Access to affordable banking services helps people build wealth, but some persistent barriers deter consumers from opening or keeping a bank account. In the Pew Charitable Trusts’ recent report entitled Overdrawn: Persistent Confusion and Concern About Bank Overdraft Practices , based on a nationally representative survey of American adults, the authors found that 13 percent of people who paid an overdraft penalty say they no longer have a checking account; 19 percent report responding to overdraft fees by discontinuing overdraft coverage; and 28 percent report closing a checking account in response to overdraft fees.