Access to Banking Services
Accessing basic banking services, such as checking and savings accounts, is the first step towards financial security. Woodstock Institute works to ensure that all communities have sustainable, affordable basic banking options.
The Illinois House last week took the first step towards ensuring that workers who receive their wages on payroll cards are protected from deceptive fees that can eat away at their earnings.
Nearly a year ago, Woodstock launched our online data portal in order to deliver meaningful data on the Chicago six county region for our community partners in a user-friendly way.
U.S. Bank announced earlier this year it intended to purchase Chicago-area branches of RBS Citizens/Charter One Bank.
I recently read an eye-opening book entitled “Scarcity: Why Having So Little Matters So Much,” by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. It’s about how scarcity of time, money, food, and sleep affects our brains, creating a tunnel vision.
Ten mortgages to African Americans in 2012. Zero bank branches in low-income communities or communities of color. And below-peer-level lending to low-income communities in all of its assessment areas.
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.
Chicagoans had an opportunity last week to voice their concerns about different types of consumer credit to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Richard Cordray.
For our 40th anniversary, we have secured some incredible keynote speakers you’re sure to enjoy. From a range of backgrounds and expertise, our speakers will make you think differently about the work you do every day.
We have a unique opportunity to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) our concerns at a hearing CFPB will hold in Chicago on October 2.
As you may know, Capital One recently applied to regulators to acquire ING Direct. The deal would create the fifth-largest bank in the country and raises substantial concerns about how the deal would impact communities.
In response to pressure from a customer backed by consumer and disability rights advocates, Chase Bank announced on May 13 that it would not impose its $12 monthly fee on basic checking account customers with direct deposits of at least $500 per month in aggregate from Social Security payments. This change could save customers with disabilities millions of dollars a year.
Bankruptcy filers in African-American neighborhoods choose potentially risky Chapter 13 more often than filers in white communities
Women in Cook County’s African-American neighborhoods file for bankruptcy at a disproportionately high rate, a new report from Woodstock Institute found. The report also found that bankruptcy filers in African-American communities are far more likely to choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy over Chapter 7, a trend that may indicate limited economic benefits of the bankruptcy process to filers in these communities.
Lack of credit availability is a key concern for the housing market recovery. As we discussed in our latest report, lenders are tightening standards as foreclosures and other recession-related negative credit events are taking a hit on many borrowers’ credit scores. For example, the Federal Housing Administration recently changed their policy so that they will only insure loans to borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher for their standard lending program. However, reports have shown that some FHA-approved lenders are requiring even higher standards for FHA loans. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, on whose board our president Dory Rand sits, is taking issue with that practice. NCRC recently filed fair housing complaints with federal regulators alleging that many top FHA lenders have underwriting policies that disparately restrict people of color from access to credit.
As the end of the year approaches, several thinkers around the Web are reflecting on the meaning of an event that deeply impacted the Chicago region and beyond: the closure of ShoreBank and its rebirth under a new management team as Urban Partnership Bank. We released a statement after ShoreBank’s closure commending the bank for playing a crucial role in supporting affordable housing in Chicago and expressing our hopes that Urban Partnership will carry on that legacy. Here’s what others are saying:
Our latest report analyzing credit score patterns in Illinois found some troubling facts: 54 percent of individuals in highly African-American communities had credit scores below 620, while that figure is only 16.5 percent in predominantly white communities. Furthermore, 43.3 percent of individuals in highly African-American communities had a credit score below 580, compared to 11.5 percent in predominantly white communities. The concentration of low credit scores in communities of color raises concerns about the prospects for economic recovery in those neighborhoods, since credit scores are becoming increasingly important in more walks of life. Not only will it be more difficult to access affordable home, small business, and car loans, but having low or no credit scores can impact the availability of rental housing, affordable utilities and insurance, and even employment. Given these challenges, what can be done to improve opportunities in Illinois’ communities of color?