We know that large-scale community development programs can make a tremendous impact on the lives of low- and moderate-income families and communities. But we also believe the axiom that “community development occurs one deal at a time.” After all, most large-scale programs are really a collection of smaller solutions designed to meet local needs.
This issue of Partners is dedicated to solutions. We are proud to feature examples of organizations striving to address local concerns. From banking regulators, to nonprofit organizations, to for-profit businesses, we all have a role to play. We recognize that no program is perfect and we reserve the right to criticize even the best programs (including our own). But as we begin the new millenium, we think now is a good time to take stock of some fine programs run by good people working to develop sound solutions for everybody’s benefit.
In our last newsletter, we focused on problems with predatory lending practices. We stay focused on this important topic and present three articles on the regulatory response to predatory lenders. By strengthening the regulations that implement the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) and the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), we hope to curb predatory lending while maintaining complete access to affordable credit. We won't pretend that these proposed regulations will be the ultimate solution to predatory lending, but we hope they make a significant difference.
A second article features new solutions developed from the for-profit sector. Directo, a company headquartered in Atlanta, provides easy to use, high-tech alternatives to banking unbanked populations or to wiring money to family members living outside the U.S.A. Bringing new and innovative products to compete with traditional money transfer operations and check cashing programs is an exceptional approach to serving low- and moderate-income populations.
Finally, we feature some exciting news from our associates in Alabama. First, you might notice our masthead featuring a photograph of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's new branch facility in Birmingham. The new building not only provides additional space that was sorely needed; it brings modern services to financial institutions through improved automated check, cash, and coin processing. We are proud to have Community Affairs staff housed at the new location.
In addition to the new branch facility, we present two interesting articles from our associates in Alabama that offer exciting investment opportunities: small business incubators and work opportunity tax credits.
We designed this issue to present a range of opportunities and ideas for your consideration. Together, by sharing the best we have to offer, we hope to contribute to your own local solutions — one deal at a time.