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Friday, April 1, 2011

Understanding the Unbanked and Underbanked

The availability, accessibility and affordability of financial products and services are major factors affecting the economic security of households, particularly low-income households. It is also a growing concern for impacts on community development. A better understanding of the dynamics underlying household economic security is crucial for financial organizations, community organizations and policy makers to build wider economic security and social mobility. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis, in partnership with Beyond Housing, Grace Hill Neighborhood Services and the West End Neighborhood, created a system dynamics model of household economic security focused on understanding the underlying reasons that these households choose to be unbanked or underbanked. The final report on the study is available at

A Charter School Financing Alternative?

The Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has published a working paper by Ian Galloway, "Charter School Tax Credit: Investing in Human Capital." The paper considers how two existing policy tools—investment tax credits and charter schools— could be combined to raise operating funds for charter schools that successfully close the poverty-related academic achievement gap. Because of their different types and approaches, it's difficult to identify the variables present in successful charter schools that could produce the same results elsewhere. This paper acknowledges the difficulty of "silver bullet" school reform replication and considers an alternative: cultivating a diverse array of education approaches using tools developed by the community development finance industry over the last 30 years. More information is available at, or by contacting Ian Galloway at

New HUD Publication

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research has introduced a new publication, "Evidence Matters," highlighting policy-relevant research focused on a key theme. Quarterly issues will provide information and diverse viewpoints that underscore HUD's mission—to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality, affordable homes for all. The theme of the inaugural Winter 2011 issue is neighborhood revitalization and features Murphy Park in St. Louis; it can be found at

NALCAB Latino Entrepreneurship Best Practices Publication

"Latino Entrepreneurship: A 21st Century American Economic Engine," the 4th edition of NALCAB's Best Practices publication series, is now available. It highlights job creation via entrepreneurship. You may request a copy by sending an e-mail to The full publication is also available to read online at