The Center for Household Financial Stability at the St. Louis Fed hosted a symposium that addressed rising student-loan debt. Student loans are now the second largest debt on household balance sheets, behind mortgages.
Participants heard from several experts in the area of student loans, including a keynote address by Rohit Chopra of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The symposium offered resources for managing student loans and featured a research panel that provided answers to questions such as:
The event concluded with a round-table discussion: The Future of Student Loans and Financing Higher Education.
What is ahead for our communities? How can we continue to provide community development services during the current climate of austerity? What are some best practices in leveraging resources?
Participants heard some answers to these questions during this Exploring Innovation event, which featured interactive live video and in-person presentations followed by local facilitated discussions. Featured speakers included Kristin Faust, director of lending and network services with Partners for the Common Good (PCG) ; Ben Brown, principal/storyteller with PlaceMakers; Bill Taft, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis; and Ted Howard, executive director of The Democracy Collaborative .
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis sponsored a research symposium that highlighted the critical role of household balance sheets in restoring household financial stability and national economic growth after the recession. Keynote speakers included Michael Barr, former assistant secretary for financial institutions at the Treasury Department and current professor at the University of Michigan Law School; Christopher Carroll, professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University; and Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein.
Through commissioned papers, keynote speeches and a competitive call for papers, sessions explored:
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Financial Access, Education, and Consumer Protection; the Center for Financial Services Innovation; and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City sponsored a forum designed to help communities and practitioners make informed choices about promising pathways for unbanked and underbanked households to connect to wealth-building financial services. Specifically, three key questions were explored: 1) What do we know about unbanked and underbanked consumers? (2) What financial products exist to meet their needs? And (3) through what channels are these products distributed?
These and other questions were addressed by some of the nation's leading experts, industry representatives and on-the-ground providers of financial services focused on unbanked, underbanked and unhappily banked consumers.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) hosted an interagency-sponsored workshop on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on May 3, 2012, at the St. Louis Fed.
Designed for staff of community-based organizations interested in obtaining current information and training on the CRA and how it can benefit their organizations, the workshop explored effective ways to constructively work with banks to improve neighborhoods and communities. The session was interactive, and participants received resource materials.
The St. Louis Fed was the site of the release of the St. Louis Neighborhood Market DrillDown, an assets-based approach to market research that combines numerous data sets to build an up-to-date set of community economic indicators tailored to the strengths of urban neighborhoods. Participants attended presentations, heard from a response panel, and joined in-depth discussions about the ways in which using this new data differently can assist in building a more sustainable and equitable St. Louis.
The Louisville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and New Directions Housing Corporation sponsored a presentation by Jeffrey A. Morgan on redevelopment of commercial corridors and neighborhood-serving businesses. Morgan is a 2011 Harvard University Edward M. Gramlich Fellow, architect/urbanist and candidate for Master in Design Studies at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion on current and past efforts to optimize neighborhood business district revitalization.
Exploring Innovation: A Conference on Community Development Finance was held May 9-11, 2011, at the Chase Park Plaza hotel in St. Louis, Mo. The conference was attended by lenders, investors, nonprofit community development practitioners and others who learned how to use innovative business models that address the financing of all aspects of thriving communities—from housing and infrastructure to community engagement and leadership development. Learning tracks included retail products and services, the green economy, investments and equity, and financing comprehensive development. Employing innovative presentation and collaboration techniques, the conference:
Standard financing models cannot address the growing needs of the field of community development, according to experts Dione Alexander, Ian Galloway and Trinita Logue. Unconventional methods and new, collaborative financial models need to be explored, including platform/system financing, philanthropic equity, technology and microfinance/peer-to-peer lending. Innovative financial institutions and organizations are learning how to work together to connect lenders to investors, sometimes by creating new platforms and partnership structures. This was the message at the Nov. 10 public policy dialogue, part of the St. Louis Fed’s 2010 Exploring Innovation series. The dialogue was followed at all Bank locations by a discussion regarding the implications of these issues on society, including how organizations must address these concerns to attract investment, add value, and support economic and social development.