ACTION ALERT: We need your help passing SB 2234!

SB 2234/HB 5587 would establish important protections for small businesses receiving financing from nonbank lenders. When small businesses turn to online companies that are not banks to obtain financing, it is practically the Wild West. These “nonbank lenders” don’t have to disclose the interest rate – or Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – of their loans and don’t need to be licensed. The APRs on these loans can exceed 300%!

Click HERE to contact your legislator and tell them to support SB 2234!

At Woodstock Institute, our mission is to advance economic justice and racial equity within financial systems through research and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Woodstock Institute envisions a society where all people experience economic security and prosperity.

In 2021, the Predatory Loan Prevention Act capped the annual percentage rate on consumer loans in Illinois at 36% in a victory for efforts at eliminating structural racism. A new report from Woodstock Institute examines how Illinois consumers, especially those from low-income communities and communities of color, have benefited from the law.

The Mortgage Access Initiative is a new effort bringing together different actors in the mortgage process to pinpoint the specific barriers keeping people of color out of homeownership and solutions for addressing them.

We're now calling on banks, non-bank lenders, and government-sponsored enterprises to make these solutions a reality.

Woodstock Institute’s 50th Anniversary Celebration was a success! We’re thrilled to have brought together a diverse crowd of professionals united around a common goal of building an equitable financial system. Attendees included representatives of community and non-profit organizations, government officials, and financial sector leaders.

Woodstock Institute was founded in 1973 by Chicago philanthropists Sylvia and Aaron Scheinfeld, who envisioned a conference center where participants could plot solutions to social justice issues, especially racism in housing, known as “redlining.” In the 50 years since, Woodstock has been on the frontlines advancing economic justice and racial equity.

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Offering Help and Hope Against Predatory Financial Practices

WeProsper is a joint initiative of Woodstock Institute, New America Chicago, and The Chicago Urban League. We offer free educational resources for lawmakers and the public with special focus on communities of color, in English and Spanish. WeProsper also supports efforts to create alternative wealth-building strategies in low-income communities through its research work. Learn more about WeProsper >

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Woodstock Institute is a national leader advocating financial access, from child savings accounts to capping consumer loans, strengthening CRA and helping craft Illinois' Secure Choice program.  Keep up on the latest research and policy initiatives and help increase financial access with us!

Our Work

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Our materials help educate policymakers and others on initiatives that will increase access to opportunity and close the racial wealth gap in Chicago, in Illinois and nationally. View advocacy

Our reports, fact sheets, and other data covers community reinvestment and redlining, fines and fees, and other financial access issues from 2005 to date. View research

Since 1986 we've analyzed and shared Chicago community loan data, now covering the 7-county metro region. We're also available to provide technical assistance to community organizations and others to use this data for community development. View the Data Portal & Fact Book