FSIC Press Release – AIOF Congratulates Graduates from its Recent Dream Creators Workforce Development Program

FSIC American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF) congratulates graduates from its most recent Dream Creators Workforce Development Program cohort. All students in the Dream Creators program received advanced training and incidental support before and during the Nash Community College Underground Electrical Line Construction program in July and August. They recently received their graduation certificates and were offered employment at a major energy company. These young people can expect to earn $50,000 or more in their first year. “AIOF is honored to have facilitated this program and is very proud of our graduates. We believe this is an excellent opportunity for these students to have a meaningful and prosperous career”, said Kevin B. Kimble, CEO of AIOF.

AIOF would like to thank our partners Duke Energy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Roanoke Valley Chapter (SCLC-Roanoke Valley), Beyond Finance, the Partnership for Innovation and Empowerment, and the Financial Services Innovation Coalition (FSIC) for their continued support of the AIOF Dream Creators Workforce Development Program. AIOF looks forward to helping more young people in the future through this program.

FSIC Housing Task Force Blogpost – Black Homeownership Increases, but Hurdles Remain for True Equity

Last month, the National Mortgage News reported that non-banks made nearly two-thirds of all traditional home purchases, a meaningful increase.  For instance, 7.9% of these mortgages went to African American borrowers, up from 7.3% in the previous year.  Asian households had a 7.1% home lending market share, improving on 5.5% in 2020, while Hispanic borrowers received 9.2% of the loans.  Additionally, the share of conventional purchase loans made to borrowers from underrepresented communities also increased.

It is still evident, however, that a significant homeownership gap exists in cities across the country.  An Axios DC analysis found that as the black population of the nation’s capital continues to decrease, the homeownership gap between black and white District residents continues to grow.  According to the DC Mayor’s office, 34% of DC homeowners are black, compared to 49% percent of white residents.  However, some cause for optimism can be found as the number of total black homeowners increased by nearly 4,000 in 2019.

FSIC Housing Task Force Op-ed – The Biden Housing Plan is a Good Start, Here’s How to Improve It

Potential homeowners in the U.S. are facing a myriad of challenges. From rising inflation to rising interest rates, the process has perhaps never been more challenging, especially for those going through it for the first time. And with the average 30-year rate increasing to 5.27 percent, more homeowners than usual are priced out of refinancing.

Many first-time home buyers also must deal with a number of egregious fees, due to zoning issues or as a result of employment verification services like The Work Number, which has raised its prices 31 percent over the last several years.

FSIC and HLF Op-ed – Consumers and Small Businesses Suffer From Unfair Swipe Fees

By: Mario Lopez
Posted: Jun 25, 2022 12:01 AM
Published on Townhall.com

Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy.  Historically, American consumers have pushed us into economic expansions and pulled us out of economic doldrums.

But what if we told you that one of the basic tools the American consumer uses for everyday purchases is rigged against us all and hurts the economy, with low-income Americans and small businesses taking the biggest hit?

FSIC Blog Post – Video Highlights Hidden Fees in Housing Market

In a new video, the Market Institute’s Charlie Sauer examines the rise in sales prices and interest rates of homes across the country and scrutinizes the higher-than-anticipated costs Americans face in the home-buying process.  In the video, Sauer zeroes in on zoning and land use issues, tariffs on products such as lumber and steel, and companies such as The Work Number that put upward pressure on prices.

Sauer notes that many cities have zoning practices like parking requirements and prohibitions on multi-family homes, which have made construction more expensive, and limited housing supply – exacerbating racial and economic inequality.  Zoning isn’t the only issue, though, as Sauer highlights how restrictive trade policies on major homebuilding components such as flooring, iron, and steel pipes are subject to tariffs, making housing more expensive.

FSIC Video Podcast – “African Americans, Real Estate, and the Impact of Systematic Racism”

May 13, 2022, Kevin B. Kimble, Esq., Founder and CEO, FSIC, and Brady J. Buckner, President, FSIC interview with Thaddeus Dawson, CRA designated member with he National Society of Real Estate Appraisers. In this episode outlines the historical and current effects of systematic racism on property valuation and how it has impacted the long term wealth building prospects for communities of color. This is an FSIC Housing Task Force Project.

FSIC Blog Post – “The Wobblies”: Iconic Film on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Is Re-released for May Day

The film details the history of the Industrial Workers of the World — a radical union whose members are also known as Wobblies — and their inclusive fight to organize “unskilled” workers, secure fair wages and enshrine the eight-hour workday in the early 20th century before they were targeted and repressed by the FBI during World War I.

FSIC AIOF Press Release – FSIC American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF) and EmsanaRx Announce an Innovative Health Equity Initiative

Today, the American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF), in conjunction with pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) EmsanaRx, announced a new initiative to help combat health disparities. Aimed at empowering communities of color and other underserved Americans to access and use the health care resources available in the U.S., this initiative comprises community leaders, academics and corporate leaders committed to this cause.

FSIC Housing Task Force Blog Post – CFPB Warning to Banks, Credit Unions, and Fintech on Potential Misuse of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Should not Discourage the Proper Use of Technology

Recently, the director of the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, publically warned banks that depending too much on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithmic lending during the mortgage application approval process might lead to fair lending violations.  He contends that all AI-based algorithms have built-in bias and will always have some bias.  Our question to the CFPB is, why haven’t they made the same warning to traditional lenders (banks) whose approval processes result in alarming levels of documented bias against disadvantaged and minority borrowers?

FSIC Housing Task Force – Blog Post – GAO: Alternative Data Is Rare but Could Improve Mortgage Terms for Disadvantaged Communities

One issue our Housing Task Force aims to address is the lack of credit too many consumers face due to the limited information that credit bureaus collect. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office adds some fresh findings that illuminate the problem.

CRYPTOCURRENCY AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AT THE SEC:  The Case for an Investigation

As has been true in the past with other innovations, regulators have struggled with how to handle this new technology. This could not be any more evident than the actions taken by former Securities and Exchange Commission (US) Chairman Jay Clayton and his chief lieutenant, the former Director of Corporation Finance William Hinman. They were put in charge of the agency that possesses the most power to regulate such companies, but given no specific regulatory framework on how to treat cryptocurrencies – the asset class which powers this new technology. The result was a free hand for Clayton and Hinman to pick winners and losers at whim, which opened the door for potential abuse and self-dealing.

Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Lending Have the Potential to Reduce Discrimination in Mortgage Lending – White Paper March 2021

It is widely accepted that the key ingredient to accumulating wealth in the U.S. is home ownership.
Unfortunately, racial discrimination in the housing and lending industry has limited the ability of minority populations, particularly African Americans, to participate in this traditional means of wealth-building.
While the traditional housing finance system has a long history of discriminatory actions against African Americans and other minorities, the creation and deployment of technologies that remove much of the human element has been a path toward reducing discrimination in the system.
But, the question remains, can evolving artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic lending help address the systemic challenges of discrimination in the housing sector by shrinking and potentially eliminating racial bias in mortgage lending?

Leading Ladies of Richmond and FSIC Black History Month Event: African American Women Small Business Lending Workshop

FSIC American Innovation and Opportunity Fund (AIOF) in association with the Leading Ladies of Richmond and the SCL Global Policy Initiative are excited to announce the date for their “Small Business Lending Workshop”.   The event will be held via webinar on February 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm ET.

Op-Ed – Professional Sport Team Owners in US Prove Socialism Can Work

These “capitalists” [professional sport teams owners] understand that in order to have a thriving, competitive marketplace, a winner take all “laissez faire” economic approach does not work. In order to support a 30-40 team league, owners understand that the wealthier markets must support the smaller, poorer markets.

The Looming Real Estate Crisis Plus Opportunity Zones Will Exponentially Expand the Wealth Gap

It is not a secret that the real estate market is suffering during this COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has caused businesses to shutter which has led to a decline in commercial real estate values. With workers forced to stay home, many people are unable to pay their rents and mortgages. These delinquencies will eventually lead to a large number of evictions and foreclosures. Opportunity Funds are poised to take advantage of this suffering.

FSIC Releases White Paper – The Marshall Plan for the Economic Recovery of Black America

As Americans deal with the ramifications of the Corona virus, the great racial disparities that have plagued African Americans for centuries have become starkly and deadly visible for all to see. An imperative exists for Congress to achieve the spirit of the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act and enact affirmative remedies abolishing the residue of systemic racism. This inevitably requires developing a plan to save African American institutions including businesses, non-Profits, HBCUs and other entities serving traditionally under-resourced multicultural neighborhoods and communities.