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Woodstock Developments

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

July 28, 2010


From the President: What’s next with financial reform? 

Dory RandNow that President Obama has signed the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) into law, what’s next? The media are currently obsessed with whom the President will select as the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (we agree it must be a strong CFPB director with a pro-consumer track record), but there is much more on the horizon.


Related: Woodstock Institute statement on Senate passage of Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill

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Governor Quinn signs landmark payday loan reforms

In a crackdown on 700 percent interest rate payday loans, Governor Quinn signed HB 537, capping rates and closing the legal loophole that has allowed some payday loan companies in Illinos to operate almost completely unregulated. Starting in March 2011, the law caps rates for nearly every short-term credit product in the state, prevents the cycle of debt caused by frequent refinancing, and gives regulators the tools necessary to identify potentially predatory lending practices before they become widespread. 


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Condo foreclosures drive new foreclosure growth in Chicago suburbs, new data show

A cluster of condo foreclosures in Palatine.

New foreclosure filings on condominiums are a rising share of foreclosure activity in the Chicago region, new data from Woodstock Institute show. New filings on condominiums in the six-county region grew by two percentage points from 17 percent to 19 percent of all foreclosure filings between the first half of 2009 and first half of 2010.

Read more...  

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Regional HOPI Plenary investigates different ways of combating foreclosure crisis, looks to the future

A housing counseling agency that’s so swamped with demand for foreclosure prevention counseling that its executive director personally handles clients. Stalled real estate markets where buyers are waiting for prices to drop even further, and buyers who do want to buy now are struggling to obtain financing. Scam artists who take off with troubled homeowners’ last dollars while promising to save their homes. These are some of the challenges that face those who are trying to combat the effects of foreclosure in the Chicago region’s neighborhoods.

At the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (RHOPI) 2010 Annual Plenary on July 15, more than 80 representatives from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors came together to hear leading practitioners explain how they are meeting those challenges—and worked together to come up with proposals to address persistent problems.


Related: Regional HOPI Website

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How banks can get CRA credit for working to prevent foreclosures

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) has been an effective tool that has been used over the past 30 years to ensure that banks are meeting all the credit needs of the communities they serve, particularly low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. It has been used to improve access to low-cost mortgage credit in underserved markets, promote the provision of sustainable financial services tailored to low- and moderate-income consumers, and encourage sound investment in underserved communities who badly need it. However, many questions have been raised about how CRA can be used to meet one of the most pressing needs facing communities today—helping families avoid foreclosure when possible.


Related: Woodstock calls for limited and temporary expansion of CRA mission to reduce impact of foreclosure crisis, encourage donation of vacant, lender-owned properties

Related: Permanent modifications rise and total modifications fall, as new report finds that HAMP performance is better than overall modifications: May

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Congressional watchdog report finds implementation issues in foreclosure prevention program

There’s been a constant flow of anecdotes from housing counselors, homeowners, and the media saying that the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), designed to prevent foreclosures by lowering monthly mortgage payments, has major flaws in its implementation. Homeowners and counselors report difficulties in communicating with their servicers and problems with repeated loss of documents or errors in determining eligibility that can bog down the process—or even result in mistaken foreclosure. A recent report from Congress’ investigative arm states that these anecdotes indicate systemic problems in HAMP’s implementation.


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In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconPaying More for the American Dream IV: The Decline of Prime Mortgage Lending in Communities of Color
May 2010 

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  

  [+] View All Publications

  Upcoming Events

Chicago Region CRA Modernization Conference Call
August 3, 2010

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