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Journal Article
At the Richmond Fed: Studying Community Development Financial Institutions

They say that money makes the world go round — the ability to borrow it can shape a person's life, livelihood, and neighborhood. But just because trillions of dollars are loaned to households and businesses every quarter doesn't mean lending is equally available to those who need it the most.Community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, emerged in the 1970s to improve credit access for underserved individuals and communities, offering a range of financial services and educational programs. But little was known about the impact of these organizations. The Richmond Fed launched the ...
Econ Focus , Volume 23 , Issue 4Q , Pages 29

Discussion Paper
Fifth District Firms Report Cautious Optimism Going Into 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have required constant shifts in how businesses operate. Not surprisingly, uncertainty has been a theme among many firms in the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's business outreach in the last few years. To better understand what firms are expecting for 2023, we asked them for their outlook and the strategies they might take to prepare for possible economic scenarios.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
CDFIs on the Prize: Recent Federal Awards for Community Development Financial Institutions

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are mission-driven banks, credit unions, loan funds, and venture capital funds that expand financial access to low-and-moderate income (LMI) and underserved populations.In the past two years, after recognizing CDFIs' ability to reach and serve populations that were hard hit by the pandemic, Congress appropriated a total of $12 billion to the industry through three special programs. The money was allocated to the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The scale of these funds set aside for CDFIs is ...
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
The State of Hiring in the Fifth District

The past two years have been marked by a historically tight labor market in which many firms have had difficulty hiring and retaining workers who possess the necessary skill sets. In a recent post, we explored evidence from our business surveys that suggests that the labor market may be cooling somewhat. Our employment and availability of skills indexes have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and our estimates of wage growth have come down from their 2022 peak. Nonetheless, wage growth estimates remain above pre-pandemic levels, and data from our August surveys suggests that many firms are ...
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Recent Trends in Fifth District Housing Market Indicators

There is evidence that the tight housing markets of the past few years are starting to loosen, with increased supply and falling prices. However, many Americans still struggle to buy a home. Between the fall of 2020 and the summer of 2022, home price growth accelerated in the United States and in all Fifth District states after being relatively steady for a decade. Using the CoreLogic Home Price Index, price increases were most dramatic in North Carolina and South Carolina, where year-over-year increases reached historic highs of 25 percent. While price increases remain high relative to the ...
Regional Matters

Journal Article
District Digest

Many Americans take access to credit for granted. It's easy for them to underestimate the importance of credit. But without it, a person's economic advancement may become more challenging. For example, in many areas, the inability to secure an auto loan — and thus, a car — could limit employment options, access to healthy food, or medical care.Different people have disparate experiences in accessing credit. For those who are financially underserved, the market has produced credit alter­natives. But many of those alterna­tives, such as payday lenders, offer unfavorable terms that often ...
Econ Focus , Volume 22 , Issue 4Q , Pages 27-31

Journal Article
Upfront: New from the Richmond Fed’s Regional Matters blog

Roll up of several Regional Matters Blog Posts
Econ Focus , Volume 23 , Issue 3Q , Pages 3

Discussion Paper
Housing Affordability Challenges for Renters and Homeowners in the Rural Fifth District

As previously discussed in this blog, homeownership affordability has been on the decline in rural communities throughout the Fifth District. The combination of elevated home prices and rising mortgage rates have made homeownership harder to achieve. But affordability challenges aren't limited to prospective homebuyers. Many existing rural homeowners and renters — especially low-to-moderate income (LMI) households — are burdened by their housing costs.
Regional Matters

Journal Article
District Digest: Transportation Access as a Barrier to Work

Lack of a car can be a barrier to employment, particularly for low-income individuals. According to a 2022 survey conducted by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, almost 20 percent of individuals in that state who were able to work but were not currently working cited transportation as a barrier. Many studies have shown that ownership of a car (or a truck or motorcycle) increases the probability of work, especially among welfare recipients. And low-income individuals are the least likely to own a car and therefore must rely on other means of transportation, such as ...
Econ Focus , Volume 23 , Issue 4Q , Pages 24-28

Journal Article
District Digest: Measuring Social Capital Across the Fifth District

How cliquey is your community? How often do people from different income groups in your area befriend one another? Do your neighbors volunteer their time to charitable causes? Social scientists have long studied social capital — the strength and value of social networks within communities — as well as its effects on economic, health, and political outcomes. Political scientists have linked higher civic engagement with the strength of democratic institutions, while economists have studied the role that friendships across socioeconomic statuses might have in fostering economic mobility.
Econ Focus , Volume 23 , Issue 2Q , Pages 27-31




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