Subject: NCRC 2010 National Conference
Today, we face “gilded age inequality, robber baron corruption, financial booms and busts, a broken health care system, increasing poverty, and spending as much on military as the rest of world combined, while we are less secure and more threatened….We are called to act — the country is turning and we have the opportunity to decide how it will turn; the stakes are too high to get tired or cynical or pessimistic about the odds.” At the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 20th Anniversary Conference earlier this month, Robert Borosage, President of the Institute for America’s Future and Co-Director of The Campaign for America’s Future inspired NCRC’s members and called them to action on America’s number one priority: job creation.
Christian Dorsey, Director of External and Government Affairs at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), began this plenary on creating sustainable jobs with a of staggering array of statistics on the long-term impact of the economic recession. He described how the 9.7 percent unemployment rate only begins to reveal the economic condition of the country. After accounting for lost jobs and population growth, we need to add 11 million jobs just to catch up to pre-recession levels of employment. If you consider the 16.8 percent of the workforce that is underemployed, more than 26 million under-or unemployed Americans are struggling to find a way to feed their families. more
“The borrowers weren’t risky so much as the loans were risky,” said Michael Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending in offering a rebuttal to the argument that the foreclosure crisis was the result of government policies that allowed individuals who were incapable of successfully owning homes to receive mortgage loans. His response elegantly and succinctly gutted the baseless assertion that low-income individuals are inherently unworthy of homeownership, and set the tone for the conversation that followed.
Calhoun’s remarks were part of a plenary session titled “The Foreclosure Crisis: The Next Wave,” that took place this month at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2010 National Conference. The plenary, moderated by NCRC CBO James H. Carr, brought together five experts in a conversation about the future of the foreclosure crisis, foreclosure prevention efforts, and the role of governments and non-profits in stabilizing and then rebuilding the hardest-hit communities.
In addition to Calhoun, who concentrated on the devastating effects of foreclosure on underserved communities, Alys Cohen, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, addressed the Obama Administration’s Making Home Affordable programs, particularly the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Erika Poethig, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spoke about the imminent wave of foreclosures on multi-family properties. Geoff Smith, Senior Vice President at the Woodstock Institute, spoke about his research on foreclosure trends in the Chicago area. Finally, Craig Nickerson, Executive Director of the National Community Stabilization Trust, commented on returning foreclosed homes to productive use and tactics that can contribute to comprehensive revitalization strategies in foreclosure-ravaged communities. more
When Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) last week announced that he would move forward with a consumer protection bill without seeking Republican support on the Senate Banking Committee, there was a tentative sense of progress in the room of housing advocates and practitioners attending the annual National Community Reinvestment Coalition conference in Washington, DC. People were hopeful that a new bill with “teeth” would trump the existing political compromise of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) housed at the Fed or Treasury, and replace that with an agency that had independent regulatory oversight – preferably one with enforcement power.
But that independent agency is not part of the version of the Dodd bill that was handed down today, where a new CFPA — a consumer financial products regulator — would be housed at the Federal Reserve, amid the protests of many Democrats who have argued for a free-standing agency saying the Fed had the power to regulate financial products for years, but failed to do so. Housing the agency at the Fed appears to be an effort to get Republicans on board who have opposed an independent CFPA. Nonetheless, The Washington Post reports that the Dodd bill represents “the biggest overhaul of regulations since the New Deal.”
But for supporters of an ambitious overhaul once proposed by President Obama, including the Fed’s own consumer advisory council, the Dodd bill is something of an anticlimactic letdown. Yes, any Consumer Protection Financial Agency is good on paper, but will housing it within the Fed render it toothless? NCRC’s John Taylor, who made use of a conference luncheon to conduct an impromptu phone bank last week at NCRC’s convention, flooding the Congressional switchboard with calls in support of an independent CFPA, is not pleased:
“Putting the CFPA at the Federal Reserve, as has been proposed, will be more of a waste of taxpayers’ money because we’ll have to pay for the appearance of protection without getting any. Had the Fed exercised their authority and enforced consumer protections, they could have nipped the foreclosure crisis in the bud. Now to turn over consumer protections to the very people who allowed the abuses to happen is simply beyond belief.”
Taylor wrote on CFPA and Community Reinvestment Act modernization in the most recent issue of Shelterforce. We’ll have more response and analysis on the Dodd bill over the next several days. more
In a panel discussion at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2010 National Convention assessing the administration’s mortgage modification initiatives, Gordon Whitman, director of public policy and communications for PICO National Network pointed to as-yet-hesitance of the bigger banks to establish…
At about noon today, NCRC President and CEO John Taylor announced to attendees of his organization’s annual conference that the bipartisan attempt at crafting a Consumer Protection Financial Agency that would regulate mortgages and credit cards had stalled, and that…
Dion Spencer, NCRC’s director of legislation and regulatory policy just announced that a new Consumer Reinvestment Act bill will be heard by the House Financial Services Committee, citing information from Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). Spencer said that Gutierrez would sponsor…
John Trasvina, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, emphasized HUD and Treasury’s central role the federal response to the housing crisis, this morning, as well as hinting at further tacks taken by the administration as it continues to address a crisis with as yet elusive solutions
Trasvina offered his remarks to roughly 250 housing advocates at the National Community Reinvestments Coalition’s 2010 National Convention, taking place this week in Washington, DC., while echoing an agency-wide message of reviving the agency’s relevance. “It’s my job to make sure the office relevant in 2010 and to the needs and concerns of people across the country,” he said.
Specifically, the assistant secretary pointed to the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., suggesting that the Act was not only necessary policy, but one that promoted national solidarity. “We have to make sure we are accessible to everyone, and we have to be a gateway to those who are marginalized.”
Part of that access is making the Fair Housing Act “relevant to the 21st century,” including for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Congress has begun what is expected to a be series of hearings on the Fair Housing Act that will consider whether changes to the law are necessary, as well as considering an expansion of the law to include LGBT people. After ENDA, expansion of the Fair Housing Act would only be the second effort of Congress to include the LGBT community in the country’s civil rights laws.
“People are hiding behind their identies to buy a house,” Trasvina said, adding that HUD is currently conducting a housing discrimination study — conducted once every 10 years.
Trasvina also gave a glimpse of more action taken by HUD and Treasury in responding to the foreclosure crisis. In response to a question posed by Phyllis Salowe-Kaye of New Jersey Citizen Action about the administration’s recently announced short-sale program within Making Home Affordable, where the servicing bank receives a subsidy to assist a family in danger of foreclosure with relocation assistance, Trasvina appeared to suggest the administration is considering encouraging banks to engage in mortgage principal reduction — a move long supported by housing advocates, despite a cool response from the administration so far. more
Stories and pictures of the Great Depression were what finally got people to mobilize into action in the 30s, and NCRC is taking a similar approach to the foreclosure crisis, said Ed Gorman, NCRC’s chief membership and workforce officer. “A…
It’s the second full day of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2010 National Conference and people are already assembling to hear morning remarks offered by John Trasviña, HUD’s assistant secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity. Trasvina was a last minute addition to today’s lineup, which includes luncheon keynote speaker Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and myriad panels addressing issues like sustainable jobs, the affordable homeownership market, powering LMI economies, the future of Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, and FHLBs.
Stay tuned throughout the say for updates, as well as live updates on Facebook and Twitter (Shelterforce). more
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) went a bit off script today at that NCRC 2010 National Conference when, after a emphasizing responsive, empathetic government promoting an agenda around social justice, he became more reflective, first recalling his own rental eviction…
U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, (D-Md.) offered a sobering, but empowering assessment of the state of the U.S. economy and the impact on families and neighborhood throughout the ongoing housing and employment crises. Cummings’ remarks preceded the luncheon remarks from…
Rooflines will be live blogging from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2010 National Conference beginning Wednesday, March 10. Join us here at Rooflines as we cover this important annual event that features a host of panels on topics that include…