FY 2022

Throughout 2022, Woodstock Institute worked to advance economic justice and racial equity. We advocated for stronger consumer protections, produced research that sheds light on financial disparities, and brought together stakeholders to collaborate on addressing financial sector discrimination.

Woodstock Institute celebrated two major legislative wins in 2021 with the passing of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA) and the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (IL-CRA). As the result of decades of advocacy, research, and coalition-building, these laws have the potential to help undo a legacy of financial discrimination in Illinois by facilitating wealth-building in low- and moderate-income communities.

The extent to which these communities will receive the full intended benefits of these reforms depends on advocates’ ability to maintain pressure against moneyed interests throughout their implementation and enforcement processes. We’ve already witnessed various attempts at undermining these laws, ranging from weak enforcement standards at best and blatant sabotage at worst.

As a result, in 2022 we advocated for and defended these policies by demonstrating their potential to make a real difference in people’s lives and help communities of color build and maintain wealth.

The PLPA and its 36% APR cap on consumer loans have been enormously successful in saving low-income people hundreds of millions of dollars in interest and fees, and we are now in a battle to prevent entrenched financial predators from undermining the law in their quest to extract wealth from communities of color.

Specifically, the pawnbroker industry secured a temporary injunction exempting them from the PLPA, allowing them to continue their predatory lending practices.

Likewise, although the newly-enacted IL-CRA has the potential to channel investments back into historically underserved communities, this positive result will depend on advocates like Woodstock Institute working with state and federal regulators to hold financial institutions accountable to their obligations to address underinvestment in communities of color.

On top of these efforts, we continue to maintain, update, and train users on our Community Lending Data Portal. Over four decades of analyzing data on lending in Chicago demonstrates how little has changed despite extensive efforts to address racial disparities in finance. With this data, we aim to ensure community members have easy access to the knowledge needed to decipher the lending disparities created by our financial system.

Finally, we want to express gratitude for the continued support of our allied community organizations and grassroots leaders, our donors, and our staff and board, without whom none of our efforts would be possible.

Policy & Advocacy

Defending the Predatory Loan Prevention Act

The 2021 passage of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA) marked an historic win for racial justice efforts and was the culmination of more than 20 years of research, advocacy, and coalition-building from Woodstock and our partners.

Reforms introduced by the PLPA have been an unequivocal success. Thanks to the 36% rate cap, predominantly Black and Brown low-income borrowers are no longer caught in an endless cycle of
unaffordable debt. Millions of dollars that would have gone to predatory lenders in the form of interest and fees have remained in Illinois communities.

To learn more, Woodstock commissioned a poll that found that cash-strapped consumers were using safe
and affordable methods to cover shortages, many of which did not require taking on debt. Of those who did choose to borrow, over two-thirds were able to access most or all of what they needed under the rate cap.

Thanks to the PLPA, consumers saved $607 million in fees and interest on high interest loans in 2022, an almost 100% decline from 2019.

Unfortunately, passing the law was only part of the battle. The pawnbroker industry successfully persuaded a Sangamon County Court judge to carve them out of the PLPA, which allows the industry to continue charging 243% on their loans. We’ve been working ever since on defending the PLPA by:

  • Producing research demonstrating how predatory lenders, and pawnbrokers specifically, exacerbate the racial wealth gap by extracting money from disproportionately low-income Black and Brown borrowers in Illinois.
  • Shedding light on how the pawnbroker industry violates federal law in its lending practices. Our
    investigation found pawnbrokers were illegally charging interest rates up to 243% to active-duty service members in violation of the Military Lending Act. These findings highlight the need to
    ensure that the pawnbroker industry is covered by the PLPA.
  • Highlighting the broad public support for this law. In a poll commissioned by Woodstock, we found a whopping 86% of Illinois residents are in favor
    of the 36% rate cap. Support was overwhelmingly strong among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike.

Despite advocacy from Woodstock Institute and a broad coalition of advocates, pawnbrokers and their lobbyists managed to kill legislation that would have compelled the industry to follow the PLPA—but the fight isn’t over. We will continue fighting to ensure that all consumer lenders comply with the State’s 36% rate cap.

Interest Rates for Consumers Loans before and after the PLPA

Alternatives to Predatory Loans

Now that the Predatory Loan Prevention
Act (PLPA) has successfully curtailed
high-cost predatory lending, Woodstock has increased our efforts to connect impacted communities with access to safe and affordable sources of cash.

  • Woodstock Institute and our partners
    created WeProsperIL.org as a hub for
    consumer financial education to help
    consumers lower bills, find additional
    income sources, and access affordable
    financial products.
  • In 2022, we launched a marketing campaign to spread the word about this resource, strategically using radio, social media, billboards, transit shelters, and community outreach to reach impacted communities.
  • Alongside the Consumer Federation of America, Woodstock put together an in-depth report outlining safe options for accessing cash without going into high-cost debt.

To better inform these efforts, we will
continue working to understand how impacted consumers access cash in a post-PLPA world and catering our efforts to these findings.

WeProsperIL.org billboard

Economic Justice + Racial Equity

Enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act

Woodstock Institute plays an active role in shaping reform efforts for the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and implementation of the recently-enacted Illinois CRA.

Ever since Woodstock was a leader in the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977, we’ve been on the frontlines making sure regulators hold financial institutions accountable to promote racial equity under the law.

Unfortunately, a recent report by Woodstock Senior Research Fellow Calvin Bradford entitled Violating Your Way to an Outstanding CRA Rating found financial regulators have overwhelmingly failed to identify cases of redlining and racial discrimination over the past 30 years.

In light of these regulatory failures, we hold that
bank mergers deserve more scrutiny from regulators,
not less. Throughout 2022, Woodstock advocated
for robust enforcement of both the federal and the
Illinois CRA by:

  • Speaking out against multiple bank mergers due to these institutions’ lackluster history of engaging in equitable lending practices. By doing so, we hope to provide a crucial voice for communities left behind in the wake of decades of financial industry consolidation.
  • Releasing an in-depth 43-page comment letter outlining what is needed for a robust Community Reinvestment Act enforcement framework in response to current efforts to update the CRA. Above all, we were disappointed to find regulators are disregarding opportunities to address systemic racism through stronger
    regulation in the lending sector.
  • Following and contributing to Illinois regulators’ efforts to promulgate rules for enforcing the IL-CRA. As with the federal CRA, we advocate that any enforcement of the law must include the impact of racial disparities on consumers to fulfill the intent of these laws as tools for eliminating redlining.

Mortgage Access INitiative

Mortgage lenders continue to overwhelmingly favor White neighborhoods over Black neighborhoods, perpetuating cycles of underinvestment and racial inequity. The Mortgage Access Initiative is an effort to tackle this issue head-on.

As our Community Lending Data Portal demonstrates, homeownership (and the wealth-building opportunity it entails) remains inordinately out of reach for people of color. In this context, Woodstock Institute and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS) have brought together representatives of various types of mortgage lenders—credit unions, banks, and mortgage companies—for honest conversations about the systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color and how we can address them.

The Mortgage Access Initiative aims to break down each step of the mortgage lending process and use stakeholders’ expertise to identify the specific gaps
and roadblocks that prevent mortgage credit from flowing towards underserved communities of color.

After 18 months of meetings, participants arrived at the following policy recommendations:

  • A proposal for an equitable mortgage product;
  • Make homeownership more affordable for people of color by ensuring Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans only go to borrowers ineligible for conforming loan products;
  • Incentivize lending to people of color by addressing loan officer compensation structure and optimizing relationships with housing counselors.

These recommendations will help guide our advocacy efforts as we engage other actors in the mortgage lending process. We plan to continue this project by bringing in different stakeholders such as appraisers, real estate professionals, and representatives of
government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Research

Community Lending Fact Book Findings

Since 1986, Woodstock has compiled data on access to loans and financial opportunity in the Chicago area into our Community Lending Fact Book. This comprehensive resource helps guide the decisions
of policymakers, financial institutions, regulators, and community-based organizations.

In 2022, we built on our goal to democratize data by spreading the word about the capabilities of our new Community Lending Data Portal. This powerful tool allows stakeholders and community organizations to easily splice and compare data in new ways, facilitating deeper and more precise analysis on lending activity in Chicago. We hosted multiple virtual events to share these capabilities with the hope that greater access to this data will help provide the knowledge needed to spur systemic change.

We also added new community lending data to the portal, including gross rent, property values and changes over time in the number of bank branches by geographic area.

Highlights on mortgage purchase loans, refinances, average loan amounts, average borrower income and average property values are also new. Our own analysis of the 2020 data found that:

  • Lending disparities continued and even grew along geographic and racial lines in the Chicago region during this time. Residents of Chicago’s North Side, which is generally higher-income and more White, received both larger loans and a greater share of loan dollars overall compared to their share of the total population.
  • In 2020, the North Side made up only half the city’s population but received over two-thirds of the total loan amount made in the city. The average loan amount on the North Side was also over 3 times larger than the average loan amount on the South Side.

This resource is available for free download and access at woodstockinst.org/data-portal.

Economic Justice Awards

On June 7th, 2022, Woodstock Institute
hosted our Economic Justice Awards.
Our first in-person event since COVID-19,
we were excited to welcome folks and honor
Advocate of the Year Awardee Sarah Brune,
Policy Director at Neighborhood Housing
Services of Chicago as well as Illinois House
Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.
Thank you to the many institutions who
sponsored the event and those who gave
generous contributions to fund Woodstock
Institute’s mission of promoting economic
justice and racial equity.

Economic Justice Awards 2022 collage

FY 2022

Finance Report:

January 1 - December 21, 2022

Statement of Financial Position

Assets

12/31/2022

Current Assets
Net Property and Equipment
Other Assets
Total Assets
719,035
5,135
621,204*
$1,345,374*

12/31/2021

Current Assets
Net Property and Equipment
Other Assets
Total Assets
619,240
5,063
16,701
$641,004

Liabilities & Net Assets

12/31/2022

Total Current Liabilities
Unrestricted Net Assets
Temporarily Restricted Net Assets
Total Liabilities & Net Assets
701,025*
292,650
351,700
$1,345,374*

12/31/2021

Total Current Liabilities
Unrestricted Net Assets
Temporarily Restricted Net Assets
Total Liabilities & Net Assets
71,918
438,526
130,560
$641,004

Revenue and Expense

Revenue

FY22_chart1B_revenue

Expense

FY22_chart2B_expenses
Change in Net Assets
$75,263
($131,238)

Thank you to our supporters:

Foundation, corporate, and individual investors, January 1 - December 31, 2022

Organizations

Americans for Financial Reform
Education Fund
Associated Bank
Big Cat Foundation
BMO Harris Bank
Capital One Financial
Chicago Area Fair Housing
Alliance
Chicago Community
Foundation
Chicago Community Trust
CIBC
Citi
Community Savings Bank
Driehaus Foundation
Evergreen Bank Group
Fifth Third Bank & Foundation
Grand Victoria Foundation
Huntington Bank
JPMorgan Chase
Lending Club
MacArthur Foundation
Marquette Bank
Mastercard
Midland States Bank
MUFG Union Bank
Neighborhood Housing
Services of Chicago
Northern Trust Company
Old National Bank
Old Second National Bank
PNC Bank
Polk Bros Foundation
Providence Bank & Trust
US Bank
Wintrust
Woods Fund Chicago

Individuals

Natalie Abatemarco
Brent Adams
Ravi Aurora
Bobbi Ball
Heather Barnes
Beverly Berryhill
Kipp Blewett
Raul Botello
Calvin Bradford
Eva Brown
Sandi & Tom Brune
Sarah Brune
Louis Caditz-Peck
Juan Calixto
Lizette Carretero
Chris Chediak
Moses & Anne Cheng
Katie Cheng
Donna Clarke
Spencer Cowan
Hannah Cowan
John Dalton
Sara Dinges
Janet Doyle
Ahmadou Drame
William Eager
Brian Fabes
Kristin Faust
Thomas FitzGibbon
Staci Glenn-Short
Leah Greenblum
Candace Gregory
Ronald Grzywinski
Susanne Hack
Alex Hanns
Robert Heuer
Susan Himmelfarb
Terrhonda Hudson
Mattie Hunter
Kevin Jackson
Manuel Jimenez
Rachel Johnston
Ianna Kachoris
Barbara Lacker-Ware
Juan Carlos Linares
Sandra Magallon
Ann Magdziarz
David Manning
Tony Martinez
Gordon Mayer
Horacio Mendez
Steven Mills
David Morrison
Terry Mostrom
Abigail Muldoon
Kimberly Nevels
Marisa Novara
Aditi Panosh
Jean Pogge
James Prescott
Anjulie Rao
Matthew Roth
Abraham Scarr
Michael Seng
Samantha Simpson
Scott Syphax
Vanessa Taliferro
Mennie Thompson
Chris Way
Eric Wilkerson
Audra Wilson
Addison Woodward

Our Team

Board of DIrectors

Board Member Thomas FitzGibbon

CHAIR
Thomas FitzGibbon, Jr.
Director, Evergreen Bank Group

Board Member Juan Carlos Linares

VICE CHAIR
Juan Carlos Linares
President and CEO, Association House of Chicago

Board Member Manny Jimenez Treasurer

TREASURER
Manuel Jimenez
First Vice President, CRA Officer, Marquette Bank

Audra Wilson

SECRETARY
Audra Wilson
President & CEO, Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Ravi Aurora headshot

Ravi Aurora
SVP & Executive Director, Global Policy Affairs & Community Relations, MasterCard

Louis Caditz - Peck headshot

Louis Caditz-Peck
Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute

collins1-1

Jacqueline Collins
Commissioner, Illinois Human Rights Commission & former Illinois State Senator

Staci-Glen

Staci Glenn-Short
SVP, Community Development Program Director, Huntington National Bank

Domenika Lynch headshot

Domenika Lynch
Executive Director, Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program

Hinsley Njila headshot

Hinsley Njila
Director, CRA Analysis & Transformation, Citi

Board Member Matthew Roth

Matthew Roth
President and CEO, Community Reinvestment Fund

Michael Seng headshot

Michael Seng
Professor and Fair Housing Legal Support Center Director, UIC Law School

Quentin Strode Headshot

Quentin Strode
President and CEO, Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation

Horacio Mendez headshot

Horacio Mendez
President & CEO, Woodstock Institute

Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

Staff

Horacio Mendez headshot

Horacio Mendez
President and CEO

Brent

Brent Adams
Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy

Amber S. Hendley

Amber S. Hendley
Director of Research

Barbara

Barbara Lacker-Ware
Director of Development & Communications

Natalie Cheng

Natalie Cheng
Research Associate

Jane

Jane Doyle
Policy and Advocacy Associate

Rob Mayo

Rob Mayo
Communications Associate

Sukriti Sood headshot

Sukriti Sood
Research Analyst

Beverly

Beverly Berryhill
Office Manager

Calvin Bradford

Calvin Bradford
Senior Research Fellow

Spencer

Spencer Cowan
Senior Research Fellow

William Kling

William Kling
Senior Policy Fellow

woodstock logo

67 East Madison Street, Suite 2108 | Chicago, IL 60603 | 312-368-0310 | woodstockinst.org

At Woodstock Institute, we’re working to create an economy where everyone has access to the financial services and resources they need to prosper.

Report prepared by: Rob Mayo, Woodstock Institute
Cover Photo: Adam Jones, Ph.D. | Other Photos: Fig Media, Wikimedia Commons
Graphic Design: Michael Garzel

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