CFED Newsletter: August 2012
Last week, we announced that Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will speak at the 2012 Assets Learning Conference, adding to an already robust slate of keynote presenters. Cordray’s remarks will take place during the Opening Plenary on Thursday, September 20, where CFED President Andrea Levere will present her 2012 State of the Field address.
Cordray assumed the top post at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in January of this year. Since then, the CFPB has been integral in establishing regulations that better enable the American public to keep and accumulate assets, rather than losing them to predatory lending and business practices. CFED’s invitation to Cordray to speak at this year’s Conference signifies our recognition of his commitment to ensuring that all consumers can participate in the market on a level playing field.
Cordray joins a slate of high-profile speakers, including Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eugene Robinson. To read more about the program for this year’s Assets Learning Conference and to register, visit www.assetsconference.org today.
This morning, CFED released the first in a series of guides exploring how the delivery of services that emphasize asset building can be integrated into other types of human and social service delivery programs. Getting a Head Start on Financial Security, co-authored by Leigh Tivol and Jennifer Brooks, examines a range of strategies that stakeholders in the Head Start community can use to engage asset-building practitioners in their work to strengthen the overall household financial security of the families they serve.
Because Head Start reaches nearly one million children annually, it is a logical venue for connecting low-income families with programs and services that improve long-term economic prospects. Built on this notion, Getting a Head Start on Financial Security is broken down into seven main categories that correlate to the activities around which Head Start and asset-building practitioners can collaborate. Specifically, these communities should work together to inform and empower children and adults through financial education, facilitate family access to public benefits, link families to EITC and free tax preparation, get families banked, encourage savings by matching deposits, help families buy and keep homes, and advocate for policy change at the state and federal levels.
To read more about how asset-building approaches can be integrated into Head Start service delivery, visit CFED’s Knowledge Center and download Getting a Head Start on Financial Security today.
Two weeks ago, major strides were made in the manufactured housing field as the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) passed the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act at their annual meeting in Nashville. The Act, which received overwhelming support from 48 states and opposition from none, offers the promise of access to fairer and safer mortgage financing, as well as a set of important consumer protections for owners and buyers of manufactured homes. These changes represent the ULC’s recognition of the potential manufactured housing presents as a source of affordable homeownership for low- and moderate-income families.
Although the passage of the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act does not immediately become law in any state, it does establish a reputable model for what states should do to address the problems with current manufactured housing titling structures. In the status quo, manufactured homes are titled as vehicles rather than as real estate, meaning that they depreciate rather than appreciate in value. Should the model law be adopted by states – now a real possibility thanks to last month’s passage of the Act – owners of manufactured homes would gain access to the safe mortgage products that are currently only afforded to owners of site-built homes.
Among other things, the Manufactured Housing Act:
- Provides an easy method to convert manufactured homes to real property – a new home can be considered real property as soon as the homeowner (1) locates the home on land controlled by the homeowner and connects the home to electricity and (2) files a certificate of location for recording in the land records.
- Requires that dealers provide information to purchasers of manufactured homes about their rights to convert the home to real property.
- Does not include onerous requirements that manufactured homes be placed on so-called “permanent foundations” or satisfy certain lease terms in land-lease communities in order to become real property.
- Prohibits steering by the seller or manufactured home dealer into a certain type of titling.
- Addresses the possibility that the home is later moved.
In short, the ULC decision represents an enormous victory for low- and moderate-income owners of manufactured homes, and CFED looks forward to keeping you apprised of the efforts of advocates who will be working in the coming months to turn this model law into a fully-implemented policy in states where the Act would improve on current titling statutes.
To learn more about CFED's Manufactured Housing work, visit our website.
Back in April, CFED’s Applied Research Team issued a Call for Papers for the 2012 Assets Learning Conference (ALC) with support from partners including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Social Security Administration's Financial Literacy Research Consortium and the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin. With the goal of identifying some of the most cutting-edge research being conducted in the field, the Team reviewed over 60 submissions, each of which has implications for how both practitioners and policymakers can advance pathways to financial security and opportunity. While CFED’s slate of reviewers regretted having to turn down some strong papers, the number and quality of submissions has allowed us to assemble cohesive sessions with the potential to permit rich discussion.
Given the ALC's rich history as a space for some of the field's top researchers to connect research and practice, this year’s Conference is an opportunity for practitioners to learn about cutting-edge research that applies to their day-to-day work. Because the presentations are geared toward practitioners, researchers will emphasize findings and implications rather than methodology. Furthermore, we’ve recruited leading academics and policy experts to serve as discussants, many of whom will facilitate discussions about complex and often controversial issues facing practitioners in the field. We’re confident that these two unique elements of the Research Track will make for some in-depth and enlightening conversations.
Specific sessions within the Research Track will cover a wide variety of topics, and ALC attendees should come prepared to jump right in. Topics to be covered include ways of improving account design, behaviorally informed approaches to incenting saving, the impact of the Great Recession on people of color, strategies for building financial capability and more.
To participate in these conversations, make sure you’ve reserved your seat at the table by registering for the ALC today at www.assetsconference.org. In the meantime, should you have questions, email CFED’s Research Team.
- Webinar: “Bringing Microenterprise Resources to Your State”
August 14 | 3:30 – 4:30 pm EDT
- 2012 Assets Learning Conference
September 19-21 | Washington, DC
- Second National Poverty Summit
September 21-22 | Washington, DC
- Deadline: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Call for Papers
September 24, 2012