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Philadelphia. Pa. — UNC Center for Community Capital director Roberto Quercia and associate director Janneke Ratcliffe are among the leading national experts invited to speak on responsible mortgage lending strategies during a Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia conference May 14.

The Philadelphia Fed’s fourth biennial conference on the topic, “Rethink. Recover. Rebuild. Reinventing Older Communities,” will focus on the impact of the latest recession, the mortgage crisis, declining housing values, local government responses, the challenges they face and new strategies to consider.

Quercia and Ratcliffe’s panel, “Best Practices in Responsible Lending, Servicing and Borrowing: Perceptions versus Realities,” will discuss options, opportunities and alternate lending models and related issues, such as enforcement actions against illegal or borderline lending practices, borrower suitability standards, product design, meaningful versus deceptive disclosures, the role of financial literacy and of originators in fostering responsible borrowing.

Quercia and Ratcliffe will present evidence of the value of well-conceived affordable mortgage products, such as Self-Help’s Community Advantage Program (CAP), and the importance of continuing Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) initiatives. The center leads a long-term study of the experience and results of CAP, an affordable housing mortgage program funded by the Ford Foundation that is run by Self-Help, a leading community development financial institution, in partnership with Fannie Mae.

“The CRA delivery system is too important to fail given the rebuilding work that is ahead of us,” Quercia said. “CRA lending did not cause the crisis. It is vital that we distinguish between borrowers with low credit and products with high risk.” The latter prompted the subprime crisis.

“Already disadvantaged households are more likely to experience acute neighborhood impacts of foreclosure crisis,” he said. “So it’s important that we continue and strengthen CRA requirements. Institutions like Self-Help can help maximize the impact of CRA, especially in the aftermath of this crisis.”

View their presentation.

Barry Zigas, director of housing policy for Consumer Federation of America, will moderate the panel. Other panelists are: Allen Fishbein, consumer education and research analyst for the Federal Reserve Board; Donna Murphy, deputy chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; and Rick Roniger, senior solutions consultant for First American Outsourcing and Technology Services Group.

The UNC Center for Community Capital is the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit or call (919) 843-2140.

Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Mortgage Finance
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