Leveraging immigrant remittances for development
Some observers have suggested that one way to draw immigrants into the financial system is for banks to tap the large global remittance market. The authors of this article propose a model that would leverage remittances to both draw immigrants into the banking system as well promote economic development in immigrant communities in the United States and immigrants? home countries.
Promoting banking services among low-income customers
Many low-income people rely on payday lenders, check cashers, and other alternative financial service providers to get by. But the high costs make it hard for families to save. A 2008 Brookings Institution report highlights the reasons that the so-called unbanked turn to such services. It also suggests solutions-including both expanded bank offerings and increased access to government programs that stabilize incomes and reduce the need for emergency, high-cost credit.
The marriage of green and affordable
Developers are beginning to apply green design to affordable housing. The budding practice has the potential to provide significant benefits to lower-income families, who pay proportionately more for energy and are disproportionately affected by poor air quality. This article discusses the case for uniting green and affordable and highlights the first national design and construction criteria for green affordable homes.
Innovation in technical assistance and lending for very small businesses
Everyday entrepreneurs, everyday people who run their own businesses, are often at a disadvantage in terms of their level of business expertise and access to resources. This article identifies innovative partnerships between lenders with technical assistance providers in the state of Massachusetts that are helping everyday entrepreneurs receive the guidance and financial assistance that they need to start or grow their businesses.
New arguments for employer-assisted housing
In some parts of the country, innovation and experimentation have helped employer-assisted housing (EAH) programs gain momentum, providing New Englanders additional rationale for implementing these programs. This article describes how EAH works, its potential benefits, how it is being implemented around the country, and how our region can make better use of these programs to promote competitiveness and affordable housing.
The changing faces of America's children and youth
Recent U.S. Census Bureau projections indicate that by the middle of this century, non-Hispanic whites will cease to be a majority of the American population. In this article we document how for America's youngest residents, the future is already here. America's rapidly changing racial and ethnic composition has important implications for intergroup relations, ethnic identities, and electoral politics.
Massachusetts mortgage summit issues recommendations
In April 2007, the Massachusetts Division of Banks reported on the recommendations of its mortgage summit. The summit brought together a wide range of stakeholders to develop concrete responses to the problem of rising foreclosures. This article describes the collaborative process used in the mortgage summit and the recommendations issued. These recommendations illustrate a number of possible remedies to limit foreclosures and their impact on consumers and communities.
New ideas for old REOs: a disposition framework for marketing REOs for rental properties
The unprecedented accumulation of foreclosed properties in recent years has presented a challenge to communities, banks, and policymakers. This article outlines a potential disposition framework for government-sponsored and private enterprises to identify which foreclosed properties would be most appropriate for rental and which would remain most appropriate for homeownership. This disposition framework is then applied to the existing stock of foreclosed properties in Massachusetts, and the authors explore the possible utility of this analytic technique as a policy tool.
Challenges of the small rental property sector
Most rental housing in America is found in small multifamily buildings and this sector provides most of the options for low- and moderate-income (LMI) renters. With a growing wave of investors buying distressed properties in LMI neighborhoods, there are concerns about the ability of investors to properly maintain their investments. The author explores the small multifamily sector and suggests ways that policymakers can move beyond code enforcement and provide a combination of carrots and sticks to incentivize and increase the presence of ?good actors."
Data corner: remittances
Recent data on remittances to Latin America, including remittances from New England.