Malcolm Bush, President, Woodstock Institute
(312) 427-8070

Andre Urani, Executive Director,
Institute for Studies on Work and Society,
Rio de Janeiro
011 55 21 3235 6315

Woodstock Institute Co-Hosts First International Community Reinvestment Legislation Conference in Rio de Janeiro

[Chicago] – October 18-20 the Chicago-based Woodstock Institute and the Institute for Studies on Work and Society (IETS) based in Rio de Janeiro will be hosting the first ever international conference on community reinvestment legislation. The conference will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

The conference follows the publication of Woodstock Institute’s recent report, A Global Survey of Community Reinvestment Laws: the Obligation of the Private Sector to Serve the Underserved in Several Countries.

Woodstock’s President, Malcolm Bush, commented, “This conference gives us the opportunity to talk with colleagues from very different countries about the challenges and opportunities of implementing government mandates on private financial institutions to serve lower-income people. With CRA increasingly under attack in the U.S. from the very regulators whose job it is to enforce it, we look forward to learning how the nonprofit sector works to promote community reinvestment elsewhere.” 

Brazil was chosen as the site of the conference because in 2003 Brazil enacted several community reinvestment measures. These measures included:

·         A provision that financial institutions set aside two percent of demand deposits for loans to small business. This set aside provision also contains rules on maximum interest rates, minimum loan amounts, and minimum terms.

·         Offering of simplified, low-cost bank accounts to low-income customers.

·         Loosening of rules for credit cooperatives to increase membership for people who live in Brazilian municipalities with fewer than 100,000 residents.

IETS president Andre Urani commented that the timing of the conference was perfect from a Brazilian perspective. “The Brazilian law was part of the election manifesto of the Workers Party (PT) in the last presidential election. After Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, (Lula) was elected president in November 2002, his government very quickly passed the community reinvestment laws. But the nonprofit sector has had very little opportunity to discuss them in public. This conference gives us the opportunity to debate the implementation of the laws in the context of the international experience with other Brazilian nonprofits, bankers and public officials.” 

Woodstock Institute, founded in 1973, is a nationally recognized resource on credit and capital needs of low-income and minority communities. The Institute engages in applied research and policy development to promote economic development in underserved communities. 

The Institute for Studies and Work and Society (Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade-IETS) is a Rio de Janeiro based nonprofit organization dedicated to research, analysis, and public debate on issues of poverty, social inequality, the reform of state government, and the improvement of social policy.