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Foreclosure and renters: banks break the law

Banks routinely violate state and federal laws protecting tenants in rental buildings in foreclosure, particularly in a “foreclosure belt” stretching across the South and West Sides, according to a new report.

Lenders and their agents “willfully ignore” laws that protect tenants in foreclosures and have “institutionalized in their practices the wholesale violation of tenants’ [legal] rights,” according to a report (pdf) from the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing.

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Summit to Discuss New CRA Rules

Banking executives and housing developers will tour three Chicago neighborhoods during a national summit on housing and banking this month, and FDIC director Thomas Curry will meet with community leaders and others to discuss new changes in community reinvestment regulations.

Buses will take conference participants to tour Belmont-Cragin, Lawndale, and Englewood on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 17, to see “what happens on the ground when neighborhoods get some kind of investment — and what happens when they don’t have resources and connections,” said Richard Muhammad of the National Training and Information Center, sponsor of the summit.

Curry will discuss new Community Reinvestment Act rules which were recently finalized by four regulatory agencies — the first time he has met with community groups to discuss the new regulations. Community reinvestment advocates were disappointed that regulators decreased reporting requirements for financial institutions with assets between $250 million and $1 billion by reclassifying them as “small” banks.

Chicago-based NTIC is credited with spearheading the campaign against redlining which won passage of CRA in 1977, led by the group’s founder, the late Gale Cincotta. Since then, CRA-regulated institutions have substantially increased lending in low and moderate income communities, Muhammad said.

Sessions at the summit will address insurance redlining, home ownership in African American communities, new developments in predatory lending, and outreach by financial institutions to immigrant communities — as well as what community organizers can do “in an age when your local bank is now the branch of an international conglomerate bank,” Muhammad said.

The Housing and Banking Summit takes place August 17 to 19 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker.


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