Woodstock Developments

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

November 30, 2011


From the President: On Gratitude

Dory Rand I hope that you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and took a moment to actually give thanks. As the foreclosure and economic crisis drags on and many of our friends and neighbors remain unemployed or underwater on their mortgages or worse, we need to recognize and appreciate some of the good things in our lives.


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Woodstock Institute welcomes Spencer Cowan as new Vice President of Applied Research

Woodstock Institute and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce that Spencer Cowan will join Woodstock in December 2011 as Vice President of Applied Research.

“Spencer has an exceptional body of work and a strong grounding in the public policy issues at the intersection of housing and community economic development,” said Dory Rand, President of Woodstock Institute.


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Tell your elected officials to nominate Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

A vote to confirm Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is likely to be called very soon, perhaps as early as next week. Without a confirmed director, the CFPB is unable to fully exercise its powers to protect consumers from harmful financial products. Americans for Financial Reform are collecting signatures for this letter in support of Cordray's nomination, and we encourage you to sign on by contacting Erin Kilroy at erin@ourfinancialsecurity.org by December 6.

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Slow rate of HAMP modifications in final year of program suggests hundreds of thousands of homeowners could be left stranded: September HAMP analysis

The latest data on the performance of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) show that while the Chicago region has seen large increases in permanent modifications year-over-year, growth from month to month continues to be small. The rate at which servicers are adding new permanent modifications is slow enough that many homeowners in need of help will likely not receive it before the program sunsets on December 31, 2012.


Related: Congressman Garrett’s proposal to eliminate GSEs falls short

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Capital One tries to expand its house of cards by proposing an acquisition of HSBC’s credit card business

At the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago this fall, community leaders and consumer advocates spoke out against Capital One’s proposed acquisition of ING—a deal that would create yet another too-big-to-fail bank. Capital One is pursuing yet another deal that would potentially harm communities. The bank is trying to acquire HSBC’s credit card portfolio, creating the largest subprime credit card business in the country.


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New at Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative: HARP 2.0 reduces fees and representations and warranties, expands borrower eligibility

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), a federal program designed to encourage refinances of underwater homeowners, announced changes recently that are intended to open the program to more homeowners. While the program does not reduce principal for underwater homeowners, it allows them to access lower interest rates and lower monthly payments. One in four mortgages in the Chicago region is underwater.


In this issue

  Recent Work

File IconFirst Half 2011 Foreclosure Filings and Auctions
September 2011 

File IconBridging the Gap II: Examining Trends and Patterns of Personal Bankruptcy in Cook County’s Communities of Color
May 2011

File IconPaying More for the American Dream V: The Persistence and Evolution of the Dual Mortgage Market
April 2011   

  [+] View All Publications

  Upcoming Events

Join us in welcoming our new vice president and reflecting on 2011
1389 N. Milwaukee Ave.
December 15, 4:30 pm

Woodstock in the News

Chicago Reporter: New vacant property ordinance: Will it be effective in Chicago neighborhoods?

"So is the new ordinance weaker? Not quite, [Tom] Feltner [of Woodstock Institute] said. More than anything, it clarifies the city's role in holding banks accountable. One problem he foresees, however, is enforcement. "It's great to have a law on the books. But will the city be able to enforce it? That remains to be seen," he said."

Read the story



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