Fact Sheets

Woodstock staff is regularly invited to present expert testimony before the local, state, and federal legislature, as well as regulator agencies.
February 13, 2018
In February of 2017, the check-cashing industry petitioned the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to increase the maximum rate currency exchanges can charge to cash a check in Illinois. Woodstock Institute analyzed income data from 2007—the last year in which check-cashing rates were increased— through 2016 to determine to what degree Illinois households could absorb this increase.
September 6, 2016

This fact sheet looks at Illinois SB 2804 on wage assignments, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law on August 26. Our fact sheet discusses the rights afforded borrowers under the new law, and provides contact information should borrowers have any questions. 

This is the cover sheet for the fact sheet, it contains a table with various loan terms.
July 12, 2016

This Fact Sheet examines the terms of loans from major online lenders to small businesses. This analysis revealed that non-bank “fintech” loans to small businesses lack transparency regarding costs and terms, have effective interest rates up to over 350%, and include junk fees averaging $795 per loan. These loans, which resemble payday loans and the toxic subprime mortgage loans that led to the Great Recession, are made without regard to small business borrowers’ ability to repay and often trap borrowers in debt.

June 18, 2015

This fact sheet looks at the gender disparities in mortgage lending in the Chicago area. Woodstock Institute research found that most female mortgage applicants are less likely to receive a mortgage than male applicants. Woodstock recommends that banks look into to their mortgage lending processes to determine and correct any gender disparities. Woodstock also recommends regulators further investigate potential gender discrimination in the mortgage lending process.

August 20, 2014
This fact sheet looks at the disparate access to business loans for Chicago area businesses. The numbers show that businesses in wealthier and predominantly white tracts were more likely to receive loans than businesses in low- to moderate-income or majority-minority tracts. In response to these disparities, Woodstock Institute recommends that local governments should encourage banks to lend to more low- to moderate-income areas by enacting strong responsible banking ordinances, bank examiners should more stringently analyze lending practices under the Community Reinvestment Act, and more.
February 6, 2014

This fact sheet summarizes the Unresolved Foreclosures: Patterns of Zombie Properties in Cook County report, which examines the extent to which mortgage servicers are filing for foreclosure and then not pursuing the case to resolution in different types of communities in Cook County, Illinois. The report defines a zombie property as a property with a foreclosure filing that has not been resolved for more than three years. Because neither the borrower nor the servicer has clear control of the property, neither has an incentive to assume responsibility for the property. Zombie properties, therefore, are likely to threaten neighborhood stability by being poorly maintained or blighted, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, The report concludes with recommendations to reduce the negative impact of zombie properties on communities in Cook County.

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. 

Scattered Site Rental Discussion
June 20, 2012

This white paper compiles the lessons from a discussion on scattered site rental strategies convened by the Chicago Community Trust and the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative.

Access to Employment-Based Retirement Plans
April 24, 2012
This fact sheet highlights the findings of a report that examines employment data and estimated retirement plan sponsorship rates in Illinois and identifies the number of Illinois employees who likely do not have access to employment-based retirement savings plans. It also describes the basic principles that are essential to expanding access to employment-based retirement savings plans.
Struggling to Stay Afloat
March 22, 2012

This fact sheet highlights findings and recommendations from "Struggling to Stay Afloat: Negative Equity in Communities of Color in the Chicago Six County Region." It finds that negative equity is disproportionately concentrated in the Chicago region’s African American, Latino, and majority minority neighborhoods, and that borrowers in communities of color have much lower equity than do borrowers in predominantly white communities.

Vacant Building Ordinances
February 14, 2012
A summary of the provisions in the Cook County Vacant Buildings Ordinance and 2011 changes to the City of Chicago's Vacant Buildings Ordinance.
Capital One ING Direct
September 22, 2011

This fact sheet outlines Woodstock Institute's concerns with Capital One's proposed acquisition of ING Direct. These concerns include the institutions' unsatisfactory records of meeting community needs and potential for systemic risk.

CFPB Without Director
August 29, 2011

This policy brief summarizes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's authorities in the absence of a confirmed director.

Fostering Opportunity
June 21, 2011
In response to dramatic proposals to change the housing finance system in Washington, Woodstock Institute convened a panel discussion on May 12, 2011 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago with top housing decision-makers to explore the current challenges to mortgage finance and potential impacts on low-wealth communities and communities of color. This document summarizes critiques and proposals that arose from the discussion.
Bridging the Gap II
May 3, 2011

This fact sheet highlights findings and recommendations from "Bridging the Gap II: Examining Trends and Patterns of Personal Bankruptcy in Cook County’s Communities of Color." The report found that women make up a larger share of individual bankruptcy filers in all communities, and a dramatically larger share in African American communities, than men do.

Troubled Foreclosed Properties
March 24, 2011
Findings and recommendations from a February 2011 briefing at which Woodstock Institute convened a group of key stakeholders at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to discuss solutions that would keep properties occupied, hold mortgage loan servicers accountable for their disposition of properties in the foreclosure process, and return vacant properties back to productive use.