Furman Center releases new study on racial segregation and subprime lending
On November 19, 2009, the Furman Center released a new report examining the relationship between residential segregation and subprime lending. The study examined whether the likelihood that borrowers of different races received a subprime loan varied depending on the level of racial segregation. It looked both at the role of racial segregation in metropolitan areas across the country and at the role that neighborhood demographics within communities in New York City played. The report found that, nationally, black borrowers living in the most racially segregated metropolitan areas were more likely to receive subprime loans than black borrowers living in the least racially segregated metropolitan areas. When looking just at New York City neighborhood demographics, the report found that living in a predominantly non-white neighborhood made it more likely that borrowers of all races would receive a subprime loan.
The Furman Center is a leading academic research center, and a joint initiative of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the School of Law. The director is Vicki Been, the Boxer Family Professor of Law, and the co-director is Professor Ingrid Ellen of Wagner.
Global Experts Offer First Look at New Research on Microfinance
More than 200 researchers, practitioners and business leaders convened in New York City for a first look at research results on the impact of microfinance. The Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference 2010, co-hosted by the Financial Access Initiative (FAI) at NYU Wagner and other leading research and financial institutions, was held Thursday, October 21st; 22nd; and 23rd at headquarters of the Deutsche Bank and the Moody's Corporation.
The research presented at the Conference follows on the heels of an initial report, released in 2009, about the first-ever randomized evaluations of microfinance, which sparked a debate over whether and how much microfinance is helping the poor. The results of several follow-up studies presented at the latest Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference offer fresh insights on how and to what degree microfinance affects the lives of poor households around the world.
"The results of the first microfinance impact evaluations were controversial because the world was eager to find that one magic bullet that will finally "solve" poverty," said Esther Duflo, co-author of one of the first-ever impact evaluations of microfinance in India, and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "The studies showed that microfinance is not magic. But while we didn't discover that microfinance launches people out of poverty, we did discover that it's making a very real difference to some people. The new, forthcoming research will help us discover more about who benefits from microfinance and help us design financial products that work better for the poor."
The Microfinance Impact and Innovation Conference 2010 attracted senior researchers, policymakers, practitioners and investors committed to preparing the next generation of thinkers and leaders in microfinance, and to the global expansion of financial markets in poor communities. The event was hosted by not only the Financial Access Initiative (FAI), but also by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), Moody's Corporation, Deutsche Bank and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP).
Important new impact results from a randomized evaluation of a microfinance program in Morocco were aired, along with evaluations of microsavings and microinsurance, and livelihood programs for the "ultra poor." Conference sessions were devoted to the presentation of new research on microfinance product design, social performance measurement, and consumer protection. Additionally, illuminating sessions were dedicated to bringing together researchers and practitioners to design future research on product design and financial inclusion that will help usher in the next generation of services for the "bottom billion."
GovLoop/NASPAA Scholarship Competition - Part II
NYU Wagner has not just one, but two finalists in the national Public Service Scholarship essay-writing competition sponsored by the GovLoop social network for government and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. He's Brian Footer, who is working toward an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy with a specialization in Financial Management.
Way to go, Brian!
Brian is one of 15 finalists. His essay was chosen from more than 170 submissions by judges from GovLoop and NASPAA. In the next and last phase of the competition, the three winning pieces on how to prioritize federal sending in fiscally constrained times will be picked by the GovLoop network of more than 50,000 members in an online vote, and will be eligible for a scholarship award of as much as $2,500.
"If the U.S. government had only $100 million left in the budget," Brian's thoughtful and well crafted submission begins, "I would begin devising a grant program to direct money to local governments in the pursuit of assisting the most fragile and disenfranchised populations. I believe government's inherent social value is establishing services essential to provide basic human needs. This, however, is not a mandate for government to deliver services. Rather, government should be a coordinator of parties and resources, and no one understands the unique demands of each geographic community better than local government."
The piece goes on to explain how the locally guided grant process would work.
Brian's own career as a passionate public servant is more than 10 years in the making.
He moved to New York City to work on Christine C. Quinn's successful campaign for re-election as City Council Speaker, and later served as the Speaker's Scheduler. Prior to arriving in the city, he lived in Washington, D.C., and worked on Capitol Hill, for the Democratic Governors Association as a fund raiser, and for the US Tax Court as a Clerk.
He is now a Legislative Policy Analyst to the New York City Council's Committee on Aging and Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Brian volunteers his time at the Abzyme Research Foundation, helping to advocate for development of abzyme technology in hopes of producing the world's first effective HIV vaccine and improved treatments. After two years of effort and dedication toward developing a small-donor program, Brian is a member of the Board of Directors.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Prelaw from Ohio University.
Grameen Foundation appoints NYU Wagner grad Fernando Henao Velasco as Country Director for Colombia
Grameen Foundation has named recent NYU Wagner graduate Fernando Henao Velasco (MPA, 2010) as its new country director for Colombia. He will lead the organization's efforts to expand access to agricultural information and financial services for the rural poor via mobile technology, and the creation of tools and programs to improve the lives of farming families throughout the country.
A native of Colombia, Henao was previously the planning director of the Colombian Corporation for Agriculture and Livestock Research (Corpoica), the government agency that leads research and technology transfer for farmers. He also worked in Colombia's Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Government Advisor on Coffee Affairs, and was a consultant on local development for the United Nations Development Programme in New York. He holds a B.A. Economics and a J.D. from Universidad de Los Andes and his Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner.
“I am thrilled to join Grameen Foundation and to work with an incredibly talented team at the country and global level to design and implement practical technology solutions to empower people living in poverty," he said. “Colombia is in the middle of an important transition that will enable us to reach and provide more economic opportunities to the millions of families living in rural areas. I look forward to building significant partnerships in Colombia and across Latin America that lead to measurable, meaningful improvements in the lives of these families."
Grameen Foundation has worked in Latin America for more than a decade. Since opening its office in Colombia in 2011, it has focused on designing solutions that harness mobile phones and local networks of people to help poor farming households increase their productivity and income, and improve their lives.