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Series:Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 

Discussion Paper
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) home purchase data: summary for New England, 2003
This paper provides summary statistics for home purchase data collected under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in 2003. In addition to aggregate totals, patterns by income and race / ethnicity are also described. These analyses of HMDA data have been conducted to examine access to home purchase loans, while focusing on traditionally underserved populations ? low- and moderate- income (LMI) households and minorities. Overall lending activity has risen in recent years in New England, driven mainly by increasing volumes of applications from LMI and minority households. Although higher income households received more favorable origination and denial rates than lower income households, gaps between groups have narrowed significantly over recent years. In contrast, origination and denial rate gaps between whites and minorities (particularly African Americans and Hispanics) have widened. Gaps between whites and minorities are wider at higher income levels.
AUTHORS: Reade, Julia
DATE: 2006

Discussion Paper
Understanding foreclosures in Massachusetts
Recent increases in foreclosure rates in New England and other parts of the United States are raising concerns. Distressful for individual borrowers and potentially destabilizing for their communities, the negative effects of foreclosures flow beyond the impact on housing markets and the financial consequences for creditors. Public officials, lenders, current and potential homeowners, community organizations, and other stakeholders are paying careful attention. ; In low- and moderate-income communities in New England, community leaders view current trends as especially worrisome. Among possible explanations, they stress the expansion of high-cost and subprime lending in these communities; and they cite aggressive or unscrupulous mortgage practices, and even mortgage fraud. Historically, however, other factors have been responsible for foreclosure activity. Regional job losses, rising interest rates, weak housing markets, and stretched borrowers facing negative life events are among the factors that usually push up foreclosure rates. And even critics of current mortgage lending practices acknowledge that homeownership is an effective asset-building strategy and that expanding the availability of credit to previously underserved population groups is a worthy goal. ; This paper describes recent trends in New England foreclosure rates, discusses possible causes, and looks at the prevalence of foreclosures in Massachusetts cities and towns with significant populations of low- and moderate-income households. It finds that the prevalence of higher cost lending is associated with higher foreclosure rates.
AUTHORS: Borgos, Ricardo; Chakrabarti, Prabal; Reade, Julia
DATE: 2007

Discussion Paper
Community-campus partnerships for economic development: community perspectives
Formal collaborations between community groups and academic institutions to promote economic development have increased substantially over the past 10 years. The bulk of research on community-campus partnerships has focused on the experiences of institutions of higher learning and the foundations that have funded the collaborations, leaving a gap in our understanding of community experiences. This report draws on a variety of sources, including first-person interviews and academic literature, to bring out community perspectives on what makes for successful partnerships. The conclusions are presented as practical suggestions for community groups and campuses seeking to optimize partnerships. Four case studies describe lessons learned by participating community groups.
AUTHORS: Afshar, Anna
DATE: 2005

Discussion Paper
University-community partnerships: 2006 Worcester speaker series
Over the last decade, partnerships between colleges and universities, government, and businesses have helped foster economic development in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts. In 2006, the Worcester UniverCity Partnership, a coalition of private and public sector organizations working with colleges, in collaboration with the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, organized a speaker series aimed at promoting the depth and impact of university-community partnerships in the city. This report provides highlights from the 2006 Worcester Speaker Series, discusses the history and characteristics of Worcester?s partnerships, and suggests steps toward a workable action agenda for the city. This is a portrait of one city?s approach to strengthening its partnerships, which can also serve as a model for other cities interested in promoting economic development through university-community partnerships. ; Prepared by Marga, Inc. with support from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
AUTHORS: anonymous
DATE: 2007

Discussion Paper
Venture capital investment in secondary cities: issues and opportunities for impact
Venture capital has been one of the major drivers of the U.S. economy. Using the State of the Inner City Economies database of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, we found that secondary cities ? which we have defined as cities outside the 40 largest U.S. metro areas ? have received far less than their proportionate share of private equity deals and dollars. By failing to attract capital at similar rates to larger cities, secondary cities are missing a major engine of job and wage growth. Notably, however, a number of secondary cities have managed to assemble the right combination of factors to significantly outperform their peers. To understand this better, we interviewed the leaders of 17 venture capital firms (including both national firms and regional firms and firms representing more than one-half of the top 10 investors in secondary markets). We also interviewed and surveyed 53 companies in secondary markets that successfully received venture capital investment funds, as well as industry experts and venture funding facilitators. Based on these interviews and surveys, our research posits six plausible factors that enable successful secondary cities to attract more venture capital than their peers.
AUTHORS: Carlson, Carole; Chakrabarti, Prabal
DATE: 2007

Discussion Paper
International remittances: information for New England financial institutions
Each year, individuals in the United States send billions of dollars abroad. Most of these remittances are sent by immigrants to their home countries, and the majority of them flow through a handful of service providers who dominate this highly profitable business. As the immigrant population in the United States continues to grow, the volume of remittances climbs each year, reaching nearly $35 billion in 2004. Bankers and other financial professionals are taking notice, and financial institutions around the country are investigating ways to enter the market and capture a share of this growing source of revenue. To aid New England's financial institutions in their exploration of the remittance market, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has developed this report, intended to enhance the overall understanding of remittances and to highlight the potential costs and benefits of establishing a remittance program.
AUTHORS: Marcuss, Mamie
DATE: 2005

Discussion Paper
Overborrowing and undersaving: lessons and policy implications from research in behavioral economics
The U.S. household carries over $7,500 in uncollateralized debt and likely saves at a negative rate. There is a growing body of evidence that this borrowing and saving behavior may not, as assumed by standard economics, be the product of rational financial planning. This paper discusses insights from behavioral economics on how self-control problems could play a crucial role in determining such financial outcomes. It is important to note that self-control problems, as defined in this paper, are thought of as an issue affecting all people, not just those involved in our specific research. ; The paper reports results from a field study targeted to low-to-moderate income individuals conducted in Dorchester, MA. It links measured self-control to borrowing and savings outcomes taken from individual credit reports and survey questions respectively. We find that self-control problems are associated with higher borrowing, specifically on credit cards, and lower savings of income tax refunds. The paper discusses how policy prescriptions built around addressing self-control issues could prove helpful in improving financial outcomes.
AUTHORS: Benton, Marques; Meier, Stephan; Sprenger, Charles
DATE: 2007

Discussion Paper
The case for the community partner in economic development
Community-based organizations promote economic development by assembling investments in affordable housing, mixed-use real estate, community facilities, and small business in specific geographies. A principal way that community-based organizations tap institutional investors for deals is by partnering with investment intermediaries who manage the risk of these transactions by pooling assets, spreading risk across investors, and pricing the transaction up to the associated risk. Such a partnership allows an investment intermediary, or what the industry calls an ?investment vehicle,? to use its expertise to structure a deal that delivers high financial returns to the institutional investor while allowing the community-based organization, or ?community partner,? to ensure that the investment provides a community benefit. ; In this paper, we argue that both sets of actors are necessary to achieve revitalized communities. Communities need to be able to tap into large-scale investment opportunities made possible by institutional investors while simultaneously ensuring that community residents benefit from such investment. We develop case studies of two investment vehicles and their community partners: the first investment vehicle we examine is the Urban Strategies America Fund, a for-profit urban development real estate fund in Boston; the second is Coastal Enterprises, Inc., of Portland, Maine, a not-for-profit community development corporation with for-profit investment subsidiaries.
AUTHORS: Steiger, Anna; Hebb, Tessa; Hagerman, Lisa A.
DATE: 2007

Discussion Paper
The role of community partners in urban investments
Institutional investors seeking to deploy capital to underserved areas do not have either the time or the expertise to actively manage these specialized investments. Investment vehicles intervene by using their financial expertise to pool assets and lower transaction costs. Community partners, in turn, link the investment vehicle to the neighborhood. This paper develops a typology of community partners and their unique characteristics that enable them to overcome information asymmetries in certain markets. The paper also discusses the business models that establish the relationship between the investment vehicle and community partner to highlight strengths of the different models for delivering community transformation.
AUTHORS: Steiger, Anna; Hebb, Tessa; Hagerman, Lisa A.
DATE: 2008

Discussion Paper
Toward a more prosperous Springfield : a look at the barriers to employment from the perspective of residents and supporting organizations
Compared to the city, the region, and the state, labor force participation rates in Springfield's downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are very low. Residents and community leaders have expressed concerns about the employment prospects for the low-income residents that make up these neighborhoods. The purpose of this discussion paper is to highlight the perspectives of residents and community-based organizations on why so few residents of Springfield?s downtown neighborhoods are employed and to look at the some of the resources available to Springfield residents to help them address barriers to employment.
AUTHORS: DeAnna Green with Marques Benton; Kodrzycki, Yolanda; Chakrabarti, Prabal; Munoz, Ana Patricia; Browne, Lynn E.; Zhao, Bo; Walker, Richard
DATE: 2010

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