Access to Banking Services - Research

November 3, 2015

On November 3, Jody Blaylock from IABG and Spencer Cowan from Woodstock Institute hosted a webinar on the findings of our new report, No Right Turn: Illinois' Auto Title Loan Industry and Its Impact on Consumer.

August 19, 2014

This report examines geographic patterns of access to bank capital for businesses in the Chicago six county region, with a focus on smaller loans and other types of credit, amounts under $1 million, that are more likely to benefit smaller, local businesses that create economic opportunity within neighborhoods. For small neighborhood businesses to grow, they need to be able to access capital, and one common source of capital for small businesses are loans, lines of credit, and business credit cards (collectively, “small loans”) issued by banks and other financial institutions.


August 1, 2014

This report investigated whether large banks provide accurate and full information on overdraft products and services (“overdraft”); whether the information varied based on a person’s race, ethnicity, or gender, or based on neighborhood; and whether the information was provided without undue pressure or steering to costly products.


October 23, 2013

This policy brief looks at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) online consumer complaint database and compares Illinois complaints by issue and product with the national complaint data. Using data from the CFPB’s July 2013 report and Illinois complaint data from June of 2011 through August 15, 2013, this brief looks at how consumers submitted complaints to the CFPB, which financial products received the most complaints, what the biggest issues were under each broad category of complaint, and which financial institutions received the most complaints. 

September 13, 2010
This report analyzed credit score data from a major national credit bureau in large Illinois zip codes and found significant disparities in credit characteristics between communities of color and predominantly white communities, as well as between major metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan areas.
May 28, 2009
Geoff Smith, Sarah Duda, and Malcolm Bush This report demonstrates that measuring how well a bank provides basic banking services to low-wealth consumers could be done using existing data. Using proprietary data collected from two bank branches located in low-wealth communities, it shows that the...
February 8, 2005
Geoff Smith New evidence indicates the largest Chicago area banks have not expanded into lower income and minority markets, despite the substantial purchasing power and concentration of potential deposits available in these communities.
October 12, 2004
Tim Westrich and Malcolm Bush Bounce protection, a product that is regularly offered to many bank customers as a convenience, has turned into an excessively priced loan program, key features of which are hidden from consumers. This report analyzes the fee structure of bounce protection products...
June 10, 2003
Geoff Smith Reinvestment Alert 22: Where Banks Aren't: Despite Growth in Chicago Area Bank Offices, Low-Income and Minority Communities Remain Underrepresented.