Google Plus

Woodstock Developments

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

April 26, 2012


From the President: Bank Prepaid Cards: Silo or Suite?

Dory Rand Imagine Gail, a 30-year-old mother of two school-age children. Gail is on ChexSystems and has a low credit score as the result of actions taken by an abusive former husband who controlled the household budget and joint accounts. Now divorced, Gail goes to her local bank to open a checking account in her own name, but is denied. Instead of turning away Gail as a customer, the banker offers Gail the bank’s new prepaid card. Will this help move her up the ladder to economic security?


Back to Top

Conventional mortgages comprise growing percentage of foreclosures in Chicago six county region

Conventionally underwritten mortgages represent a growing percentage of new foreclosure filings, new data from Woodstock Institute show. In addition, nearly a quarter of new foreclosure filings in 2011 were on loans originated before 2005, showing that the foreclosure crisis impacts even those homeowners who have been able to afford their monthly payments for six years or more.


Related: Defending Chicago's vacant property ordinance

Back to Top

Retirement insecurity among Illinois workers is on the rise

The Illinois House of Representatives State Government Administration Committee held a hearing yesterday on the need for employment-based retirement savings in Illinois. More than half of private sector Illinois workers do not have access to an employment-based retirement plan, a forthcoming report by the Illinois Asset Building Group and Woodstock Institute found. That means about 2.5 million workers are heavily depending on Social Security to sustain them in retirement, jeopardizing their financial security and the health of Illinois’ economy.


Back to Top

Negative equity is disproportionately concentrated in the Chicago region’s communities of color

Negative equity is disproportionately concentrated in the Chicago region’s African American, Latino, and majority minority neighborhoods, a new report from Woodstock Institute found. The report also found that borrowers in communities of color have much less equity on average than do borrowers in predominantly white communities. “Underwater homes limit opportunities for families and sap neighborhood wealth,” said Spencer Cowan, Vice President at Woodstock Institute.


Related: Underwater homeowners in communities of color struggling to stay afloat

Back to Top

Please join us in honoring community leaders at Community Investment Awards reception and screening of The Flaw

Woodstock Institute and its board of directors are pleased to invite you to the 2012 Community Investment Awards Reception and screening of David Sington’s documentary The Flaw. With the ongoing turmoil in the housing market and continued household financial insecurity, The Flaw highlights what community reinvestment stakeholders in the Chicago region have long recognized—that perverse incentives to make unsustainable loans and an overreliance on credit to drive economic growth will not self correct without government intervention.

Immediately preceding the screening of The Flaw, we would also like to recognize the accomplishments of community stakeholders, financial institutions, and the media that exemplify what it means to work locally with a national impact on financial security and community prosperity issues.


Back to Top

General Assembly considers two proposals to eliminate debtors prison in Illinois

Two proposals pending in the Illinois General Assembly promise to crack down on the practice of incarcerating indebted consumers with little or no income. Each year, thousands of debt collection cases end up in court, with many borrowers unable to repay claims without dipping into exempt income, such as Social Security or the limited equity in their home or car. A 2008 Woodstock Institute report found that 45 percent of borrowers taking out consumer installment loans in Cook County failed to appear in court, resulting in ex-parte default judgments in favor of the lender.


Back to Top

New at Regional HOPI: Growing Ranks of Older Adults Face Housing Crunch

That baby boomers are swelling the ranks of older Americans is well-documented, but do we really understand the consequences of this important shift for the housing needs of older adults? A new report from the Center for Housing Policy, Housing an Aging Population: Are We Prepared?, explores the effects of this coming demographic change on the demand for housing, the challenge of providing meaningful housing choices for older adults of all incomes, and the policies that could help communities across the country respond to the dual challenges of providing older adults with affordable housing and adequate services.


Back to Top

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

Woodstock in the News

Reuters: In foreclosures, Occupy groups see a unifying cause

Millions of Americans lost their homes in the downturn and around one in four American homeowners is "under water" -- owing more than their homes are worth. A recent study by the non-profit Woodstock Institute, examining properties in six Chicago area counties, showed 17 percent of those located in predominantly white areas were under water. In predominantly black and Hispanic areas, the number soared above 40 percent.

Read the story

 Upcoming Events

Community Investment Awards reception and screening of The Flaw
May 10
4:00 pm-7:00 pm



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

Not displaying properly? Click here.