by Emily Hirtle, Policy Program Assistant for AFR

According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, over 4 million instances of housing discrimination occur each year.[1] Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made housing discrimination on the basis of sex, race and other protected categories illegal,[2] the typical home headed by a woman is still consistently undervalued compared to the typical home headed by a man.[3] And trans women, especially trans women of color, experience increased housing instability due to the intersecting forms of discrimination they face.[4] Leading up to the 2008 foreclosure crisis, women of color were disproportionately likely…

By Emily Hirtle, policy program assistant

In the discourse surrounding student debt cancellation, some pundits and lawmakers have consistently missed the mark on the benefits this policy will bring. Too many have ignored the very serious ways that student debt is a disproportionate burden on women borrowers, and Black women with student debt in particular. The toxic combination of the racial wealth gap and ongoing gender pay disparity makes cancelling student debt a consumer finance priority[i]and a gender and racial justice tool. …

As we celebrated the Labor Day holiday recently, there were many reflections on workers and their role in the economy. Naturally, this year those reflections included discussions of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted working conditions and dramatically increased job insecurity and unemployment. In many ways the pandemic has laid bare existing flaws and inequalities in our economy, including systemic racism, and accelerated trends that have been harming workers for years. In order for workers to fully recover from this crisis, policymakers must look far beyond short-term relief measures.

One example of economic trends harmful to workers worth examining is…

By Faith Taylor

Throughout the pandemic, the federal government’s actions have worked well for the investor class but less so for everyday Americans. The Federal Reserve has ensured that corporate bond markets boom even as unemployment and hunger spread, and Congress is deadlocked over a new relief bill. One casualty: state and municipal governments.

The Fed’s current effort isn’t effectively providing aid to local governments. Its Municipal Liquidity Facility has allocated $500 billion to cities, counties, and states but has been almost unused since its announcement. States are hesitant to participate for many reasons, one being the high interest rates…

Photo credits: CrispyCream27 CC BY-SA (https- licenses by-sa 4.0)

Post by Oscar Valdes Viera

In recent weeks, we have seen President Trump brag about the Opportunity Zones (O-Zone) tax break as part of his fictional track-record supporting Black communities, as well as push for an expansion of this tax giveaway to purportedly help jump-start a U.S. economy battered into a pandemic driven recession. He is responding to structural racism requiring systemic change and the coronavirus recession by doubling down on tax breaks for the wealthy.

Opportunity Zones are a big tax cut for real estate investors camouflaged as an incentive for private investment in “economically distressed” communities. The tax…

Post by Oscar Valdes Viera

Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

Mass demonstrations across the country over the police killing of George Floyd have also highlighted the systemic racism in institutions across the nation. Racism is endemic in the prison industrial complex and mass incarceration, in financial practices like predatory lending and redlining, and in all too frequent recurrent episodes of police violence.

A less known, but insidious form of systemic racism is the business model practiced by Wall Street private equity (PE) firms. PE firms often profit from extracting wealth from communities of color and exacerbating racial inequalities. PE cash has been funneled into odious…

The Fed’s Agreement with BlackRock Raises Questions about Inside Information

A man in a suit wearing an expensive watch adjusts his sleeves
A man in a suit wearing an expensive watch adjusts his sleeves
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

In order to respond to the ongoing pandemic, the Federal Reserve has created several facilities to purchase financial securities in order to attempt to stabilize the markets. Rather than run all of these programs themselves, the Fed has outsourced management of several relief facilities to the asset manager BlackRock. Examining the management agreements shows the enormous power that they grant BlackRock — including potentially the power to use inside information on the Federal Reserve’s plans in other areas of their business, or even potentially for BlackRock’s executives personal trading.


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

We all love our pets. Two-thirds of families have pets and during the coronavirus pandemic, many families are spending more time with their animal companions, giving us a look into the secret work week lives of our cats and dogs. Along with all the love lavished on these animals, comes a whole lot of money, making pets a big business opportunity for Wall Street investors — one the big-money folks are unwilling to let go, even during a public health crisis.

In fact, while the COVID-19 crisis rages on, the owners of PetSmart, a group led by private equity firm…

By Alexis Goldstein

Photo by Mr.Autthaporn Pradidpong on Unsplash

In April, Senator Elizabeth Warren released a bold plan for free public college and debt cancellation. This transformational proposal takes direct aim at some of the deepest inequities in education in America, and it’s funded by her Ultra-Millionaire tax on wealth above 50 million. The plan includes a $50 billion minimum fund for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions, and will make public college tuition-free at both two- and four-year institutions.

Her plan also takes direct aim at the crippling $1.5 trillion debt burden that America’s student loan borrowers carry, proposing to free millions…

To celebrate her plan to gut consumer protections around payday loans, Percy the Payday Loan Shark stopped by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday to deliver a thank-you card to Kathy Kraninger, the agency’s director. While security personnel blocked Percy from entering the CFPB foyer, he made sure that Kraninger heard about his gratitude for the policies on payday lending that she is advancing.

To Percy’s chagrin, he was accompanied by representatives from Stop The Debt Trap, a coalition of civil rights, consumer, labor, faith, veterans, seniors and community organizations from all 50 states who oppose Kraninger’s effort to…


Americans for Financial Reform is a coalition of over 200 organizations spearheading a campaign for real reform in our banking & financial systems.

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