Advancing Economic Security & Community Prosperity
New data portal & fact book now on line, in print

Woodstock Institute is pleased to share the Chicago Area Community Lending Fact Book 2019 Data Edition, continuing a series begun in 1986 as part of our mission to analyze and disseminate data on access to loans and financial opportunity in the Chicago metropolitan area and beyond.
US Rep Chuy García in DC office, on Zoom
Latino leaders briefing: PLPA update &
U.S. Rep García's national 36% APR cap bill

U.S. Rep. Chuy García, D-Ill., and The Resurrection Project's CEO Raul Raymundo and Director of Financial Wellness Lizette Carretero joined the Woodstock Institute team in briefing 50 Latino legislative and community leaders Monday.

The briefing covered prospects for a national 36% APR cap, affordable alternatives on the website and the status of Illinois’ Predatory Loan Prevention Act, PLPA.
Change and growing green plants
The 36% cap is working

With the start of a new year, we decided to look back on the impact of the 36% interest rate cap set by the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA) on Illinoisans in 2021. Overall, we're seeing borrowers pay less in fees and affordable lenders move to Illinois.
Comptroller extends fines & fees tax break
Earlier this month, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced that for a second year, she would not deduct unpaid fines and fees from income tax returns of Illinois individuals and families who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Woodstock Institute joined fellow advocates Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, Heartland Alliance, Chicago Jobs Council, COFI, and Legal Action Chicago in fighting to extend this impactful program another year.
First Mid bank image
Comment: First Mid agreement serves community, also shows regulators should raise their standards
We and St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance have completed a Community Benefits Agreement with First Mid Bank & Trust - as SLEHCRA recently announced -- that addresses our concerns. 

But the sale points to a major outstanding issue: if we want more loans in African American or other majority people of color communities, we must demand federal bank regulators raise the standards they use to grade lenders. 
2/4 Webinar: Racial wealth gap panel looks
at bias in Illinois Small Business Lending

Horacio Mendez will join Small Business Majority panel to discuss new Illinois CRA at 10 a.m. CST on Friday, Feb. 4.

Help combat bias in small business lending by joining this webinar. Learn from small business owners and leaders about historical practices of redlining and bias in lending that has affected building generational wealth.
Comment letters look at policies to curb redlining

Woodstock Institute recently submitted three comment letters related to rulemaking in Illinois and at the federal level:

  • To the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on a proposed rule for Section 1071 Small Business Lending Data Collection
  • To the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
  • Also to CFPB, in response to a Request for Information related to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Comment letters are available to read and download on our website.
Economic justice in the news

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Fair housing groups OK First Mid merger with Jefferson Bank (1/11) A bank merger between First Mid Bank & Trust and Jefferson Bank could go through after fair housing groups reached an agreement with the banks and changed their tune on the merger, officials said on Tuesday. Read article

WAND-TV: Comptroller Mendoza extends COVID break for struggling taxpayers (1/6) More than 50,000 families who qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit last year, were given access to an estimated $18 million that would have been otherwise intercepted due to the suspension of collecting fines. Read article

ProPublica & Block Club Chicago: Chicago’s Last Black-Owned Bank Got Millions in Government Deposits — Then Had to Give Them Back (12/22) “Unlike other tools at the government’s disposal, such as including smaller banks in bond deals, big deposits alone can’t help [banks] make a profit.” Read article