Washington, DC -- John Taylor, President & CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) today made this statement about proposals in Congress for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and federal agency proposals on the Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM):

"How we address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the definition of the Qualified Residential Mortgage, will determine who is able to get a loan in America going forward. The question is, will we limit homeownership to only the well heeled, or will we ensure broader access while protecting against the kinds of greedy and malfeasant practices that led to the financial crisis. So far, the answer from Congress and the Administration is that they would like to limit homeownership to the well heeled.

"The Qualified Residential Mortgage definition is one of the most important issues coming out of Dodd Frank. It will determine who will be able to get quality, affordable home financing in this country. If we require 20% down payments to get a loan, we will ensure broad swaths of working and middle class people will not be able to get a loan."

"When you have a mortgage finance system where rampant greed and malfeasance are allowed to proliferate, you will get poor outcomes for consumers. Rather than continuing to work to make sure we have the right kinds of protections in place prevent risky and abusive lending, we are going down the path of making homeownership more expensive and unaffordable for most people. Do we really want to shut our children out of the dream of homeownership?

 

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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NCRC's 2011 National Achievement Award winners:

Recipient of the National Community Reinvestment Award | Inez Killingsworth, Empowering & Strengthening Ohio's People, Cleveland, OH

Recipient of the William H. Proxmire Award | Manuel "Manny" T. Gauna, Tiempo, Inc., Phoenix, AZ

Recipient of the James Leach Award | HOPE Enterprise Corporation, Jackson, MS

Recipient of the James Rouse Award | Boston Community Capital, Boston, MA

Recipient of the Henry B. Gonzalez Award | Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Harrisburg, PA

Recipient of the Community Empowerment Film Award | Cleveland vs. Wall Street, Documentary film

Recipient of the Color of Money Award | Simon Johnson & James Kwak, authors, 13 Bankers

About the National Achievement Awards:

Every year at NCRC's annual conference, National Achievement Awards are given to individuals and organizations revered as leaders in expanding financial access for working families and communities. Nominations for these awards are invited from NCRC members across the country, and after a thorough review process, the most deserving are selected to be honored with awards in their respective category.

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Over a dozen consumer and civil rights groups ask OCC for extension of comment period and public hearings

Washington, DC -- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) today announced its opposition to the Capital One acquisition of HSBC's U.S. credit card business. Over a dozen national consumer and civil rights groups wrote to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) expressing concern and asking for an extension of the comment period as well as public hearings.

"As people across the country protest the damage Wall Street has caused our economy, the next too-big-to-fail and the most-likely-to-fail bank is taking form before our eyes. It would be a mistake for the regulators to rubber stamp Capital One's acquisition of HSBC's credit card unit, given the monoline and risky nature of their credit card business. This acquisition poses a threat to taxpayers, and raises serious antitrust and systemic risk concerns," said John Taylor, president & CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

"The American people also deserve a thorough review of the potential impact of this purchase to ensure that the process instills confidence in the U.S. financial system by consumers, investors and institutions around the world, and will not dampen prospects for a strong economic recovery. So far, the regulatory process has left something to be desired," said Taylor.

The acquisition, which faces regulatory approval from the OCC, follows on the heels of Capital One's announced acquisition of ING Direct, which faces ongoing regulatory scrutiny at the Federal Reserve. Hundreds of organizations testified or submitted comments in opposition to the acquisition of ING Direct at hearings held by the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC, Chicago and San Francisco.

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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Washington, DC -- The undersigned national consumer, community, housing and civil rights organizations today made this statement regarding Capital One’s proposal to purchase ING Direct:

“We strongly support extending the comment period on the acquisition by at least 60 days and holding public hearings in at least 5 major cities which will cover the impact of the proposed merger on consumers, communities and the American economy. Specifically, we are calling for a thorough investigation of the practices of both entities and if those practices will be continued, reformed or exacerbated by the proposed purchase. The American people also deserve a thorough review of the potential impact of this purchase to ensure that the process instills confidence in the U.S. financial system by consumers, investors and institutions around the world, and will not dampen prospects for a strong economic recovery.

Specifically, there are five major areas which require much more significant regulatory oversight and thorough investigation:

The potential impact on our national financial stability:
Consolidation in the financial sector should demonstrate a significant public benefit. Capital One’s public benefit statement in their acquisition application runs one paragraph long, and does not demonstrate a clearly significant benefit to society. Too-Big-To-Fail is too big an issue to rely on one paragraph.

Federal Reserve Board Governor Daniel Tarullo set this standard for the growth of firms like Capital One:
“The regulatory structure for SIFIs [Systemically Important Financial Institutions] should discourage systemically consequential growth or mergers unless the benefits to society are clearly significant.” [emphasis added]

Does this proposed acquisition comply with new demands for transparency and oversight?
With the passage of Dodd-Frank, new, overlapping and shifting regulatory responsibilities require rigorous consideration of the acquisition by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Reserve and the Financial Stability Oversight Council. In particular, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) should review this acquisition to assure the general public that it is functioning as advertised and that it is taking seriously prudential concerns about establishing another “too-big-to-fail” bank. Under Dodd-Frank, FSOC has the power to hold hearings and a comment period; it should do so.

Have current legal challenges all been resolved?
Capital One is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, over a complaint filed by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) alleging racially discriminatory lending practices that violate fair lending laws. It has also failed to live up to the commitment made by Chevy Chase, which it acquired, under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Is the spirit and the letter of the Community Reinvestment Act being respected in the process?
Creating the fifth largest bank in the United States and only allowing 30 days to comment is not an adequate and proportionate process considering the significant impact of the merger on consumers, communities and the economy. Approval of the acquisition should not happen without a clear commitment from the bank of its intentions to serve working class Americans. This commitment should be made clear prior to application approval, not after.

Past allegations of abusive financial practices need to be addressed and resolved
Due to allegations of abusive and predatory credit practices, the Federal Reserve should allow time to gather potential consumer credit card complaints from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which recently launched its complaint gathering mechanism.

To provide adequate time and allow thorough and adequate input from community leaders, businesses and other regulatory agencies, the Federal Reserve should immediately:

•    Extend the public comment period by at least 60 days.
•    Hold public hearings in at least five major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Signed:

Alliance for a Just Society
Americans for Financial Reform
Center for Responsible Lending
Gamaliel Foundation
Greenlining Institute
Housing Assistance Council
NAACP
National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA)
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its clients)
National People’s Action
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Urban League
PICO National Network
Public Citizen
Rainbow PUSH Coalition
SAFER, the Committee of Economists and Other Experts for Financial Reform sponsored by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst
US PIRG

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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 Selected Grantees to Address Economic Security of Older Adults Through Organizing and Education


Washington, DC -- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, is pleased to announce its second round of funding for National Neighbors Silver, an initiative to support and empower older adults nationwide.

As the United States suffers from historically high rates of foreclosure and unemployment, older adults across the nation are particularly susceptible to financial insecurity and instability. NCRC’s recent report about the financial stability of older Americans noted that over 13 million older Americans are economically insecure, living on only $22,000 or less each year.

“Many older Americans face new challenges in this economic environment. The sharp reduction in the value of most seniors' primary asset -- their home -- means that they are now especially susceptible to financial insecurity. Through advocacy, organizing and education, National Neighbors Silver supports participating organizations to directly tackle the root causes of the unique economic challenges faced by America’s older citizens,” said John Taylor, President and CEO of NCRC.  

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 Addressing economic insecurity of older adults through regional organizing and advocacy groups


Washington, DC -- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), with support from Atlantic Philanthropies, is pleased to announce its 2011 Request for Proposals (RFP) for National Neighbors Silver, an initiative to support and empower older adults nationwide.

As the United States suffers from historically high rates of foreclosure and unemployment, older adults across the nation are not only more numerous than past generations, but also more susceptible to financial insecurity and instability. Many older adults who lost their jobs during the economic crisis have been pushed out of the workforce and into early retirement.

"Many older Americans face new challenges in this economic environment. The sharp reduction in the value of most seniors' primary asset -- their home -- means that many are now especially susceptible to financial insecurity. The National Neighbors Silver initiative will support participating regional organizations to directly tackle the root causes of the unique economic challenges faced by America's older citizens," said John Taylor, president and CEO of NCRC.

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Washington, DC -- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) today applauded the announcement by the Obama Administration of a developing plan to put vacant and abandoned properties owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) back to productive use as affordable housing. John Taylor, President & CEO of NCRC, made this statement about the initiative:

“Some see the economy as a glass half full, others as a glass half empty. But the glass has a hole in the bottom of it, and that’s the housing market. This measure helps seal the hole by putting back to productive use the glut of vacant and abandoned properties nationwide. We’re impressed that they’re looking for innovative solutions to ease this country’s affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership crises.”

“This initiative has the potential to solve a fundamental problem facing the housing market today. But it also creates opportunities to increase affordable housing and to create living wage jobs locally. Both problems are undermining the economy, and both require practical and aggressive solutions. We’re glad that they’re seeking the best ideas from the field, and we’ve offered our own ideas on how to prevent foreclosure through greater use of principal reductions, as well as ways to stabilize communities through this initiative.

“One example of an innovative idea to stabilize communities is to pair this initiative with a jobs program. The areas in the country that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis have also been hit hard by a jobs crisis. By utilizing local workers to rehabilitate houses, and pairing those efforts with workforce training programs, the Administration has the opportunity to solve two problems with one initiative.

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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Washington, DC -- Today, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) applauded President Obama for announcing new steps allowing homeowners to refinance FHA insured loans at lower rates, and an agreement with lenders which would provide financial restitution for veterans who were improperly foreclosed upon. NCRC President & CEO John Taylor called upon Edward DeMarco, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) –the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac– to follow President Obama's lead and allow principal reductions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

"President Obama's plan to allow FHA insured borrowers to refinance their loans at a reduced fee is another positive step toward repairing the damage to the economy from the housing crisis. The President's increased leadership on this issue is a very encouraging sign. But the biggest issue facing the housing market is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not writing down loans. Until that happens, the President's initiatives will have a positive but modest impact," said Taylor.

"We will see much more positive improvement in the housing market with significant principal reductions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. Their failure to do so continues to be a major drag on the economy. Fixing the housing market is in the taxpayer's best interest, because doing so is necessary for a robust economic recovery."

"We also call upon Congress to take action and enact the broader reforms and aid for homeowners President Obama has proposed. The American promise of opportunity should not be put on hold because of political concerns."

Since 2007 NCRC has been calling for more aggressive measures and interventions to stem the tide of foreclosure, including principal reductions.

 

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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Washington, DC -- Today, in reaction to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Ed DeMarco's decision not to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use principal reduction in their loan modification programs, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition called for a change of leadership at FHFA.

"DeMarco has failed in his responsibility to do what is best for taxpayers and homeowners," said NCRC President and CEO John Taylor. "FHFA's own analysis on this matter shows that letter imgprincipal reductions at Fannie and Freddie are sensible, pragmatic and consistent with responsible management of the GSEs. DeMarco needs to lead, follow or get out of the way. If DeMarco won't do that, President Obama needs to make a recess appointment to replace him."

"Someone in the Administration needs to step up on housing. As we have said before, until we fix the housing market we will not fix our flagging economy. Principal reductions are a viable step that would help homeowners remain in their homes, and help our nation's economy return to full strength."

FHFA’s analysis shows that allowing the GSEs to participate in the Principal Reduction Alternative program could benefit up to 500 thousand homeowners, save $3.6 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and $1 billion for taxpayers. Despite these findings, DeMarco today announced that he would not allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to participate in the program.

NCRC has previously called upon DeMarco to allow principal reductions on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

 

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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Washington, DC -- The National Community Reinvestment Coalition today urged the Senate to confirm former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In 2010, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) gave Cordray its prestigious Henry B. Gonzalez Award for outstanding public service, noting that he was a "shining example for state officials everywhere because of the many ways in which he honors his mandate to protect Ohio residents."

"Richard Cordray has a distinguished record of public service, and he is a strong and prudent choice to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A strong CFPB will strengthen the financial system and protect the taxpayers by ensuring that lenders do not carry on the malfeasant and abusive lending that brought our economy into a prolonged recession," said John Taylor, President & CEO of NCRC. "Cordray's experience protecting the taxpayers and citizens of Ohio demonstrates his leadership in defense of the public interest."

It is critical that the Senate act quickly to confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB. Over a year ago, Taylor made this statement on the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, still relevant today:

"...serious work remains; the proof of the bill's worth will come not from what is written in the bill, but how the regulators interpret the bill, write the rules and then enforce them. Based on the job they did for the past decade, I will believe reform is here when I see it...It's critical that this agency [the CFPB] get a strong director whose professional devotion is to protecting consumers, and that it remains independent from the [bank] regulators."

About the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC):
The National Community Reinvestment Coalition is an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, including credit and savings, to create and sustain affordable housing, job development, and vibrant communities for America's working families.  

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