Access to Mortgage Credit

Access to mortgage credit helps families build wealth and is vital to community prosperity. Woodstock Institute works to ensure that all communities can access sustainable, affordable mortgages.

January 10, 2014

Regulations will promote sustainable mortgages, protect new homebuyers and struggling homeowners

CHICAGO—New rules taking effect on January 10, 2014, will create a safer mortgage market with fewer tricks and traps, says Woodstock Institute. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is implementing rules that require mortgage lenders to ensure that borrowers can reasonably repay their loans, provide protections for borrowers who fall behind on their mortgages, and help current homeowners stay abreast of the status of their mortgages.

December 11, 2013

Watt brings experience and fresh ideas to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulator

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.

November 12, 2013
This letter urges the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to carefully consider how the proposed acquisition of Midland States Bancorp, Inc. to acquire Heartland Bank would create a public benefit, especially for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and communities of color that historically...
November 8, 2013
Since the collapse of the housing market and onset of the foreclosure crisis, the idea of and public policies to support homeownership have been under attack.Six years into the crisis, the housing market continues to struggle, and many influential policymakers have made it their goal to...
November 4, 2013
The U.S. Senate blocked the confirmation of two of President Barack Obama's nominations Thursday.The nomination of U.S. Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC, 12) was four votes shy of moving forward, with the Senate voting 56 to 42. Forty-one Republicans voted against Watt's nomination and just two voted...
November 3, 2013
The Senate’s role in presidential nominations is usually described as “advise and consent,” not “obstruct and prevent.” And yet, continuing their extreme break with past Senatorial traditions and practice, Senate Republicans rejected another Presidential nomination on...
October 31, 2013
Confirmation vote of Congressman Mel Watt as Federal Housing Finance Agency director will not proceed
October 31, 2013
Ever since the collapse of the housing bubble, local officials around the country have had to deal with a massive problem of homes effectively abandoned by banks and other absentee owners.With the direct and indirect costs of this neglect running into the billions of dollars, scores of cities and...
Tags: mel watt, fhfa
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 28, 2013
This comment letter to federal regulators supports re-proposed interagency rules implementing the credit risk retention requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It urges regulators to support the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule's updated structure,...
October 24, 2013
 Original story 
Tags: foreclosures
October 24, 2013
Bad experiences with mortgages and credit cards topped the list of grievances that Illinois residents have filed with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's online complaint portal, a new study shows.The bureau was born out of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer...
October 23, 2013
Illinois consumers issue more complaints about bank accounts and student loans than consumers nationwide, says Woodstock Institute
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 17, 2013
This comment letter supports the proposed improvements to regulations that carry out the Fair Housing Act’s requirement to ensure that all federal agencies administer their programs relating to housing and community development in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing.  It...
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 23, 2013
Local home prices have stabilized, but one Chicago lender is courting homeowners bracing for another downturn, offering mortgages that come with protection against falling prices.  1st Advantage Mortgage, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Draper & Kramer Inc., debuted a loan this month...
May 16, 2013
Women's rights have come a long way in the past 100 years, but the disparity between men and women is still a hot topic. There are plenty of studies out there showing the differences in wages between men and women, but what about other costs? An investigative report conducted more...
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.  
May 1, 2013
Last week Chicagoans joined a national protest action at the home of Federal Housing Finance Agency director Edward DeMarco, demanding his resignation.On Wednesday, President Obama responded to growing demands to replace DeMarco, naming U.S. Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as his replacement.“...
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.

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