How One NCLR Affiliate is Helping Low-Income Latinos Build Wealth

By Agatha So, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Senior Counselor Dora Beltran talking with participants in the citizenship program, held at our Affiliate CARECEN in Washington, DC.

Building wealth is essential for Latinos to achieve financial prosperity today, and is essential to the prosperity of generations to come. That’s why NCLR works with nearly 300 community-based Affiliates across the country to help Latinos improve their credit, increase their savings, and build wealth. The Washington, DC-based Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), a member of the NCLR Homeownership Network (NHN), is a pioneer in offering financial capability services for Latino families. As we continue Financial Capability Month, we’re proud to feature the work of Anabell Martinez, Housing Director at CARECEN.

Martinez and the CARECEN staff focus on how they can empower Latino families to make informed financial decisions. “For many clients coming to CARECEN for financial counseling, it’s the first time they hear about making a budget,” said Martinez. She understands the need for financial capability because she knows what kind of questions Latino families have about building wealth and the difficulties they face to protect what they have earned.

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How Will Secretary Carson Engage Latino Homebuyers?

By Agatha So, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Many questions remain for Dr. Ben Carson, who last month was officially sworn in as our newest Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Since his January 12 confirmation hearing, many are still wondering how Dr. Carson will fulfill HUD’s mission and carry out the critical task of providing affordable rental and homeownership opportunities—free from discrimination—for all Americans.

On March 28, Secretary Carson had an opportunity to discuss his housing policy priorities at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Conference. It was an important audience for Secretary Carson—the Association represents the largest group of Hispanic real estate professionals, whose primary mission is getting Latinos into homes. This is a critical constituency, because Latinos are expected to form more than 40 percent of new households in the next decade. By 2020, Latinos are expected to account for half of new homeowners. Yet today, only 46 percent of over 14 million Hispanic households own their home, well below the rate in 2006, before the housing crisis, when nearly half of over 12 million Hispanic households owned homes.

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Celebrating Financial Capability Efforts to Support Latino Financial Well-being

By Agatha So, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Financial Capability Counseling gives Latino families the information and tools needed to improve credit, increase savings, and build wealth. Through participation in a financial capability program, Latino families can access a range of resources and learn how to use skill-building tools and financial products that will help them achieve their financial goals, such as homeownership.

For Affiliate partners of the NCLR Homeownership Network (NHN), building families’ financial capability has never been more important. Because of the financial crisis nearly a decade ago, millions of Latino families saw their savings disappear when they lost their homes to foreclosure. At the same time, a rise in unemployment among Latino workers made it harder for families to the get the assistance they needed to save their homes. Today, a generation of Latino families are still recovering and trying to repair the damage to their credit when they lost their homes. Rebuilding by understanding how to budget, save, and improve credit is critical to economic recovery and the ability for Latinos to become homeowners.

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D.C. Circuit Court Decision Is a Victory for Consumers

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to rehear a case, PHH Corp. vs. CFPB, that would have seriously weakened the efficacy of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Last October, a three-judge panel attempted to make it easier to remove the director of the consumer agency, allowing the president to fire the director at will. The full federal appeals court decided that it will revisit the issue at a hearing in May, effectively scrapping this earlier decision, and allowing the CFPB’s structure to continue as Congress intended.

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Three Key Findings on Hispanics with Debt in Collection: Results from CFPB’s Recent Survey

By Renato Rocha, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Photo: Pictures of Money

Debt collection in the Latino community is a critical consumer protection issue for one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing communities.

Latino families need access to affordable credit but have been historically excluded or discriminated from accessing safe financial products. The FDIC’s 2015 Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked households indicated that a result of this persistent economic injustice is that Latinos and other consumers who have been outside the financial mainstream are vulnerable to financial shocks, such as health-related expenses or job loss. Having been sidelined from affordable products, Latinos have little choice but to turn to more expensive credit to pay for their expenses. For example, 39 percent of Hispanic households used an alternative financial product (such as a payday loan) in 2015, compared to just 17 percent of White households.

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