Access to Mortgage Credit - Blog Posts

This is an image of a home for sale.
March 25, 2016

The number of home purchase mortgage applications decreased in 2014 compared to 2013, but origination rates were up across the board in the Chicago six county region. 

Illinois State Capitol Building
March 1, 2016

Illinois’s legislative session is in full swing, and Woodstock is monitoring many bills that fall within the scope of our mission: to create a just financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities as well as people and communities of color can achieve economic security and prosperity.  Here are some of the bills that we are supporting this session.

Morgage picture
February 24, 2016
The recent announcement of a new Bank of America lending product seemingly meets a number of issues currently plaguing the mortgage market. Further, this product looks to be able to extend mortgages to creditworthy low-income borrowers.
March 23, 2015

This Women’s History Month, we at Woodstock Institute are reflecting on how women are still at a disadvantage in the areas of income and wealth and what can be done to address that disparity. One of the common ways in which people build assets is by purchasing a home. Woodstock Institute’s research has shown that women are at a distinct disadvantage in obtaining mortgage credit. The Unequal Opportunity report found that applications from women were less likely than applications from men to be originated and that female-headed joint applications were less likely than male-headed joint applications to be approved. We are completing follow-up research which includes a look into whether certain neighborhoods experience more gender disparities in access to mortgage credit than others and suggestions for policy and practice solutions to expand women’s access to mortgage credit. 

Tags: women
October 29, 2014

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.

June 5, 2014

Last year, thousands of consumers filed complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding financial products. In Illinois, complaints from consumers focused on mortgage services, banking services, credit cards, and other critical services.

Tags: cfpb
April 21, 2014
We have a unique opportunity to influence the debate around restructuring the housing finance system.
Data portal graph
April 14, 2014

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.

March 6, 2014

U.S. Bank announced earlier this year it intended to purchase Chicago-area branches of RBS Citizens/Charter One Bank.

Dory Rand at NCRC2013
February 13, 2014

Every year Woodstock Institute staff and dozens of allies from Illinois go to Washington, DC, in the spring to galvanize the community reinvestment movement, learn about the latest developments, and visit our elected officials and regulators. 2014 is no different.

Tags: ncrc
December 2, 2013

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.

November 15, 2013

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.

October 29, 2013
Communities are struggling to emerge from the devastation of the foreclosure crisis. While our neighborhoods make efforts to recover, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)—regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—has refused to implement policies proven to protect vulnerable homeowners from foreclosure.
October 28, 2013

In 2011, the federal banking regulators released rules defining a “Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM).” The definition of a QRM matters to the communities we serve because it will substantially affect how affordable mortgages will be.

October 15, 2013

How can organizations from different sectors overcome barriers and collaborate to promote a housing market recovery and revitalize communities?

Tags: rhopi
September 18, 2013

Integrated, diverse communities benefit everyone, but segregation and concentrated poverty still plague municipalities across the country. That’s why it continues to be important to have federal rules that require localities that receive federal funding to affirmatively further fair housing goals.

Tags: fair housing
September 13, 2013

Diverse and integrated communities benefit all of us, and it’s critical that fair housing goals are reinforced by the federal government.

August 5, 2013
Cinthya Melero’s and Luis Barajas’ house was giving them nothing but headaches. The small row house they rented in Pullman, dating from the 1880s, had become too small for their family.
July 26, 2013

In the early 1970s, Aaron and Sylvia Scheinfeld were unhappy with the state of things in the Chicago region. Redlining, predatory lending, and inequality plagued the area.

July 24, 2013

On the surface, the Consumer Mortgage Choice Act (HR.1077/S.949) sounds like legislation that would be good for consumers.  In actuality, it poses some serious threats to mortgage protections recently put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

June 24, 2013
Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee approved its funding bill for next year, complete with draconian cuts to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs.
Rep. Watt
June 11, 2013

While some headlines claim that the housing market is recovering, we know that too many homeowners have not.  

May 1, 2013
We applaud President Obama’s nomination of Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Rep. Watt is a candidate with strong qualifications in economic policy who understands the issues facing consumers in the financial marketplace. Rep. Watt has served in Congress for 20 years and is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he has advocated for affordable housing, fair lending, and consumer protections. In 2009, he co-sponsored the Credit CARD Act that enacted important protections for credit card borrowers.  
April 17, 2013
Major federal policy decisions are so often made without consideration of what reality is like outside of the Beltway. One of our key goals at Woodstock is to make sure that the voices of people working on the ground in Illinois are heard by decision-makers in Washington, D.C.
August 9, 2011

The CFPB is soliciting a third round of comments on its Know Before You Owe project to simplify disclosure forms used in the mortgage process.  The agency last week extended the deadline to this Wednesday.

July 29, 2011

As the number of foreclosure filings continue to outpace loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention strategies, more and more homes are becoming vacant in the Chicago region. More than 95 percent of completed foreclosures in the six-county region in 2010 became owned by their lenders and likely remain vacant, data from Woodstock Institute show. Moving families back into these homes would counteract the destabilizing influences of vacancy and set neighborhoods on the path to recovery. While new household formation is on the rise and should contribute to an increased demand for homeownership, access to mortgage credit has become sharply constricted.

July 22, 2011

“American payroll and household formation numbers are actually on the rise. Traditionally, this would mean that these households, with increasing capital, would naturally look to invest in a home, but getting the loan to do so is on a downward trajectory.

June 28, 2011

When it takes a long time to create a problem, it often takes even longer to fix it. In Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro illustrated how various American tax, property and financial policies and practices precluded generations of African Americans from building wealth and created intergenerational poverty, the effects of which continue to reverberate today. The gains that some African Americans and other people of color made in wealth creation through home ownership, small business development and educational attainment during the late 1990s and early 2000s were all but wiped out by ongoing the financial and foreclosure crisis. If left unaddressed, the racial wealth gap will continue to grow.

May 17, 2011

With estimates showing a shadow inventory that numbers in the millions, it’s clear that the foreclosure crisis is not done wreaking havoc on the housing market. It seems that the ideal outcome for families, communities, and investors alike would include avoiding as many foreclosures as possible and keeping homes occupied. A number of strategies have been deployed in support of this goal, some more effective than others. One thread is common among the diverse array of approaches: the importance of HUD-certified housing counselors, who were hit with a major funding cut in the FY 2011 budget. Please take action this week to help get this funding restored for the 2012 budget.

May 9, 2011

Don't forget--this Thursday, representatives from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, CitiMortgage, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Community Investment Corporation, and Oak Park Regional Housing Center will debate the impact of proposed changes to the housing finance system on communities of color and low-wealth communities at a panel we're hosting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.