postings by Geoff Smith

Thank You

posted by Geoff Smith

As I sign off from guest blogging this past week, I wanted to once again thank Bob Lawless for the opportunity.  Bob has been a tremendous resource, and it was extraordinarily generous for him to share some blog space with me.  It was great to be able to share Woodstock Institutes's perspective and be exposed to a new audience.

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The Challenges Facing Communities of Color

posted by Geoff Smith

Yesterday, I posted a chart highlighting changes in refinance lending in Chicago between 2008 and 2009.  It showed lending doubling in predominantly white communities but dropping by over 40 percent in communities of color. To me, this chart illustrates my concerns about the directions in which these respective communities might be heading in the wake of the foreclosure and economic crisis. Whatever the reasons are behind the drop in conventional lending to communities of color, it ultimately means that they will face significant challenges to recovery.

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A Chart Can Be Worth a Thousand Words (or at Least 300)

posted by Geoff Smith

Woodstock Institute recently released a report called Paying More for the American Dream V:  The Persistence and Evolution of the Dual Mortgage Market in collaboration with six other research and advocacy organizations from around the country. The report is the fifth in an annual series that looks at systematic inequalities in the housing finance system and their impact on lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color. I pulled data used in this report to create the chart below. To me, this chart, more than perhaps any other data visualization I’ve seen, illustrates the different directions in which America’s white communities and its communities of color are headed.

Refi chart for cs The chart uses data reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and looks at the change in conventional mortgage refinance originations in the Chicago region between 2008 and 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available). It breaks these changes out by the race and ethnic composition of the census tract in which the loan was originated. The chart shows that in predominantly white communities (those less than 10 percent minority), conventional refinance originations more than doubled between 2008 and 2009. It also shows that in communities of color (those greater than 80 percent minority) conventional refinance originations declined by 41 percent over the same period of time. 

Just from a visual standpoint, my gut reaction when seeing this chart is to think that one type of community is ascending while another type is falling off a cliff. Clearly there are a lot of underlying factors behind the trends illustrated in this chart that I want to disucss in another post, but to me it immediately brings to mind clear questions about the different trajectories of white communities and communities of color post-crisis and about the challenges facing communities of color beyond simple access to mortgage credit.

A Deeper Dive into Racial Disparities in Chapter Choice and Women in Bankruptcy

posted by Geoff Smith

Thanks again to Bob Lawless for his excellent post this morning highlighting the findings from our latest report, “Bridging the Gap II: Examining Trends and Patterns of Personal Bankruptcy in Cook County's Communities of Color." The report found evidence of racial disparities in chapter choice in Cook County, IL, as well as a disproportionately high concentration of filings among women living in communities of color. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, check out our press release and policy brief.

If this report raised any burning questions, feel free to ask them on a conference call we will be hosting on Thursday at 11am CT (follow the link to register and get the call-in information).  If you’re shy, you can also send questions via Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll answer them on the call. I will be joined by Megan Cottrell of the Chicago Reporter.  The Reporter is an investigative magazine that published a companion piece to our report asking why these racial disparities in chapter choice might exist. I will also be joined by Woodstock Institute’s Policy and Communications Associate Katie Buitrago who will close out the call by telling the story of one bankruptcy filer, Roxie King, a grandmother of 20 from an African-American neighborhood in Chicago who went through Chapter 13 bankruptcy after being laid off from her job as an echocardiogram technician. Roxie tells her story in the video below:

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Greetings from Woodstock Institute

posted by Geoff Smith

Hello, Credit Slips readers.  My name is Geoff Smith.  I am Senior Vice President at Woodstock Institute, and I will be joining you as a guest blogger this week.  As Bob Lawless pointed out, my guest blogging coincides with the release of a Woodstock Institute report examining patterns of personal bankruptcy filings in Cook County, IL (where Chicago is located and Woodstock Institute is based).  I will talk about that report in more detail in a forthcoming post, but first I wanted to give a bit of background on Woodstock and myself.

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