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Woodstock Developments

A monthly update on new research, analysis, and advocacy from Woodstock Institute

February 11, 2010


From the President: Fair Finance Movement Finds Supporters in France

Dory RandWhile Woodstock Institute is deeply engaged in national and local efforts to implement financial reforms, we also have occasion to explore financial issues with colleagues around the globe. Most recently, I was invited to participate in conversations surrounding community reinvestment issues in France. As a result of a meeting held in Paris on January 30, French bankers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), economists, and other decision makers are considering pursuing laws similar to the United States’ Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

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Despite government interventions, foreclosures continue to climb in Chicago region

Foreclosure Report Cover Image

New foreclosure filings in the Chicago six county region rose 21 percent from 2008 to 2009 despite federal, state, and local programs designed to curb the foreclosure crisis, says a new Woodstock Institute report. During the fourth quarter of 2009, the region saw 24,053 new foreclosure filings—the highest quarterly number observed since 2005. Read more...

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Related: Tracking the Progress of Federal Loan Modifications: December

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Tax preparers operate with little oversight as refund loan protections go unenforced

A coalition of community reinvestment and consumer organizations asked the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), charged with overseeing consumer protections for national banks, to immediately implement its longstanding, but unenforced, disclosure requirements, advertising standards, and capital requirements for refund anticipation loans.  The consumer organizations sent a joint letter on February 4, 2010. Read more...  

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Related: From the President: RAL borrowers need more protection

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Tax filers in African-American communities 3.5 times more likely to use high-cost loans to get refunds

Refund anticipation loans (RALs), which allow borrowers to receive their expected tax refunds in one to three days, cost Illinoisans more than $114 million in 2006, according to a new report. Tax filers in African-American communities were 3.5 times  more likely to use RALs than were tax filers in other communities. Over 23 percent of tax filers in African-American communities used RALs to access their refund early, while only 6.8 percent of all tax filers statewide used RALs. Read more...  

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Energy-efficient mobile home proposal would create jobs

Woodstock Institute recently called on policymakers to approve funds to replace substandard mobile homes with energy-efficient manufactured homes. These new efficiency standards and additional funding would build on successful but limited local efforts to replace mobile homes—often the housing option of last resort for many low-wealth people. Read more...

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Looking for information on the foreclosure crisis in the Chicago metro area?

Visit the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative's website at The RHOPI site is a one-stop shop for foreclosure information in the Chicago region, such as success stories of local efforts to forge solutions to the foreclosure problem, events, resources for homeowners and renters in trouble because of foreclosure, regional and national research, and data and indicators.

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In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconGovernment Interventions Have a Limited Impact on Chicago Area Foreclosure Activity in 2009
February 2010 

File IconDiverted Opportunity: Refund Anticipation Loans Drain Wealth from Low Wealth Tax Filers and Communities of Color
January 2010  

File IconCollaborators or Competitors? Exploring the Relationships between Community Development Financial Institutions and Conventional Lenders in Small Business Finance
November 2009 

  [+] View All Publications

  Save the Date

NCRC 2010 National Conference

March 10-13, 2010
Washington Court Hotel
Washington, D.C.

25th Annual Community Reinvestment Reception

March 25, 2010
4-6 pm
Harris Bank

29 E. Madison, Suite 1710 | Chicago, Illinois 60602-4566 | (312) 368-0310 tel | (312) 368-0316 fax