Guest post

A New Season for Community Investment

Written by Dory Rand, Woodstock Institute and Janis Bowdler, National Council of La Raza on October 6, 2010 - 2:54pm

How is this possible? The American Community Investment Reform Act of 2010 (H.R. 6334), introduced last week by Luis Gutierrez (D–IL), would promote safe, sound, and sustainable lending to all communities by updating the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

Safety in Numbers: Creating a Fairer Housing Market

Written by Janis Bowdler, National Council of La Raza and Dory Rand, Woodstock Institute on September 10, 2010 - 7:23pm

The Home Mortgage and Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires mortgage lenders to provide detailed reports of their lending activities to regulators and the public.  HMDA data have long served as a powerful mechanism that identifies unfair lending practices, such as discriminating against minority families, women, and low-income borrowers.  HMDA is 35 years old, however, and Congress recognized it was time for a tune-up.

Guest post: Growth in microfinance field spurs debate

Written by ACCION USA Microfinance Council on May 11, 2010 - 9:11pm

Both in the U.S. and worldwide, microfinance has successfully become a tool for financial inclusion.  Its popularity is demonstrated by its average annual asset growth of 39% between 2004 and 2008. Commercial banks and investors are increasingly interested in investments in microfinance institutions (MFI), which some in the industry celebrate because it represents scale and ability to reach hundreds of millions.

Teach Children to Save Day helps encourage savings at a young age

Written by Illinois Asset Building Group on April 27, 2010 - 12:00am

Until recently, the personal savings rate in the U.S. was negative 0.5 percent.  Children need to be taught the importance of savings early.  Governor Quinn is appointing a Task Force mandated to explore the development of a plan for instituting the children’s savings accounts.

Guest blog: Refund Anticipation Loans: Just say no!

Written by Gina Harmon, President and CEO, ACCION USA on March 9, 2010 - 12:00am

Who are these borrowers? Not surprisingly, they are lower-income taxpayers, eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit, and more often than not, living in communities of color. In fact, according to a recent report from Woodstock Institute, taxpayers in African-American communities in Illinois in 2006 were 3.5 times more likely to use RALs than taxpayers from other communities.

Guest blog: We need consumer financial protection and reform

Written by Hedy Ratner, Co-President, Women's Business Development Center on March 3, 2010 - 12:00am

If you are…

  • Paying off credit cards that are charging you from 16% to 300% interest and penalties,
  • Forced to use payday loans with interest rates over 200%,
  • Unable to find credit to pay your household bills, and
  • A small business owner dependent on credit cards to pay your operational expenses and increased health care insurance for you, your family and your employees

Then you know that Senate banking reforms need to kick-start small businesses and protect our families.

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