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Alternative Lending through the Eyes of “Mom and Pop” Small-Business Owners: Findings from Online Focus Groups

The online alternative lending industry holds promise for expanding access to credit for small businesses. But it also poses potential risks, as the small-dollar credit products offered by alternative lenders can be considerably more expensive than traditional credit. To gauge small-business owners’ perceptions and understanding of online alternative lenders and their product offerings, two Federal Reserve researchers conducted online focus groups with 44 “mom and pop” businesses in a wide range of industries and from across the United States. This report details their findings.

VIDEO | An Introduction to the Community Reinvestment Act

This short, seven-minute video highlights the purpose, application and importance of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a law that helps bring billions of dollars in bank capital to low- and moderate-income communities every year. Understanding how this law works is essential for banks looking to make impactful loans and investments, non-profits seeking funding, and communities wanting to ensure their financial institutions are operating in fair and responsive ways. Learn how the CRA works and what it means for communities across the country.

Center for Indian Country Development

Through its Center for Indian Country Development, the Minneapolis Fed works to help self-governing communities of American Indians in the United States attain their economic development goals. The Center promotes partnerships, research, and coordination around four focus areas that are essential for building vibrant economies: governance, infrastructure, finance, and resources.

Revisiting The Promise And Problems Of Inner City Economic Development

On September 15 and 16, thought leaders, policymakers and business leaders will convene in Detroit, an epicenter of economic development and revitalization innovation, for the 11th Inner City Economic Summit to discuss leading edge research and practice on inner city economic development. This Summit, Revisiting the Promise and Problems of Inner City Economic Development, will include keynote addresses by ICIC’s founder and chairman, Harvard University Professor Michael E. Porter, and Rock Ventures’ President and CEO, Matthew Cullen. This is a free event, but space is limited, and registration is required. This conference is sponsored by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), in partnership with The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research; and Economic Development Quarterly and Sage Publications.

Mobility-based housing programs seek to move low-income families to low-poverty neighborhoods

This article from the July 2015 issue of Community Dividend, a publication of the Minneapolis Fed, focuses on the benefits of mobility-based housing programs. When housing voucher recipients relocate to areas of greater opportunity, the positives outcomes can be long-lasting and substantial.

Tenth District LMI Economic Conditions

This new Kansas City Fed publication is a consolidation of two existing publications: the LMI Survey and Tenth District LMI Labor Force Report, neither of which will be published separately in the future. The impetus for the change was a desire to provide information on economic conditions in the low- and moderate-income (LMI) community in a concise and complete publication. Each issue will continue to report results from the LMI Survey, and a labor market section will offer additional analysis of official labor market data relevant to LMI communities.

Digital Badging: Credentialing Soft Skills for Better Workplace Outcomes

New research points to soft skills as an important indicator for success in the workplace. In this Economic Development podcast, Jonathan Finkelstein, founder and CEO of Credly, and Laura Lippman, senior fellow at Child Trends, discuss digital badging as a way to document these currently amorphous workplace skills.

Federal Reserve Community Development Perspectives

Ever wonder about the Federal Reserve’s involvement in the field of community development? Wonder no more. Released in June 2014, Federal Reserve Community Development Perspectives: A summary of activities, insights, and future opportunities answers the "what," "why" and "how" of the Fed's role in community development. The report highlights the Fed’s recent efforts to address barriers to economic growth, and promote fair and informed access to financial markets. Featuring brief summaries of its community development work organized into four focus areas--people, place, the policy and practice of community development, and small business--the report includes background information that helps to provide context for this work, a sampling of key research, outreach programs and other initiatives, as well as some ideas on future challenges, needs and opportunities.

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