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Woodstock Developments

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

March 17, 2011

 

From the President: Threats to Housing and Consumer Programs and Agencies Reflect Flawed Thinking

Dory Rand Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to eliminate or cut funding for federal programs and agencies designed to protect homeowners, consumers, and investors reflect the same flawed thinking that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted was wrong when he testified before Congress in October 2008. Greenspan, a longtime champion of deregulation, said that he had been mistaken to put so much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and that he had failed to anticipate the foreclosure and economic crisis that such deregulation ultimately generated.

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Payday lenders challenge provisions of landmark consumer protection law set to take effect March 21

This week, the payday lender Illinois Lending Corp. filed a lawsuit challenging portions of a new law that enacts many necessary consumer protections for small consumer loan borrowers. Specifically, the suit challenges provisions of the law that prevent lenders from holding a license for shorter-term payday loans in addition to a license for longer-term consumer installment loans. The lawsuit coincides with the introduction of a bill authored by Rep. Daniel Burke that would remove the dual license restriction, scheduled for a hearing in front of the Illinois House Executive Committee tomorrow.

If this prohibition on holding dual licenses is removed, it would render the consumer protections in the law ineffective.

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Chicago area community leaders present consumer protection proposals to Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren at NPA

Shani Smith always dreamed of buying a home in her neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. When the payments on her mortgage skyrocketed, that dream turned nightmarish. For eight months, Smith has tried to negotiate with her bank to lower her payments to a level that she can afford—to no end. Smith tried everything she could, even paying $4,000 to a law firm that promised—and failed—to secure a loan modification. After counselors at a loan modification fair in downtown Chicago told her they couldn’t help, Smith walked 64 blocks home—that’s 8 miles—because she couldn’t even afford bus fare.

Smith’s story is one of many that Chicagoans shared with Professor Elizabeth Warren on February 23. Professor Warren, who was appointed by President Obama to stand up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), was invited by National People’s Action to learn about the challenges Chicagoans face and our ideas to make the financial system a safer place for consumers to borrow, save, and invest in their future.

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Woodstock Institute, Chicago area nonprofits present foreclosure prevention proposals to Senator Dick Durbin in Roseland

Representatives from leading policy and community development organizations met with Senator Dick Durbin on February 24 in the Roseland neighborhood to examine ways to stop the scourge of vacant homes on Chicago area communities.

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HAMP continues sluggish pace, but we need to fix it, not nix it: January HAMP analysis

As our monthly Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) analyses have continued to point out, it’s no secret that HAMP isn’t doing enough to put a substantial dent in the wave of foreclosures hitting the Chicago area and the country. The greater Chicago region has still seen 132,289 new foreclosures since HAMP was introduced—clearly, the need for substantial and sustainable foreclosure prevention assistance is huge. We need to fix HAMP to match the realities of troubled homeowners.

That’s why we oppose recent efforts to eliminate HAMP and other foreclosure response programs, like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

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Woodstock Institute seeks data-loving intern

Do your dreams take place among rolling fields of foreclosure data?

Do sloppy data make you have a conniption fit?

Then you should apply to be our research assistant/intern!

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Call for Nominations: Woodstock’s 2011 Community Investment Award

During the last year, your support has proven critical in helping Woodstock pursue its fair lending, wealth creation, and financial systems reform work. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to partner with you to promote foreclosure prevention, payday lending reform, and examining the impact of concentrated, very low credit scores.

At Woodstock’s annual Community Investment Reception to be held in Spring 2011, we would like to recognize the accomplishments of community-based organizations, financial institutions, and the media that exemplify what it means to work locally with a national impact.

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In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconLeft Behind: Troubled Foreclosed Properties and Servicer Accountability in Chicago
January 2011 

File IconBridging the Gap: Credit Scores and Economic Opportunity in Illinois Communities of Color
September 2010

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

  [+] View All Publications

 

 Upcoming Events

Payday Loan Reform Press Conference
Monday, March 21
Chicago, IL
 

2011 NCRC Annual Conference
April 13-16
Washington, DC

 


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