Credit access in the Hmong community
This edition of Community Dividendtouches on a broad spectrum
of topics. The issues and ideas here are diverse, but they are all
variations on a theme of promoting fair and impartial access to
credit for all, which is the core of our mission in Community Affairs.
Our cover story summarizes the findings
of a recent Federal Reserve study that examined credit access in
the Twin Cities Hmong community. As authors David Fettig and Arthur
J. Rolnick explain, the findings reveal that, overall, Hmong-owned
small businesses in the Twin Cities obtained credit from conventional
sources to about the same extent as Caucasian-owned businesses in
the same neighborhoods. By looking at credit markets from the business
borrowers' perspective, the study provides a useful supplement to
bank lending data reported under the Community Reinvestment Act.
A related feature recaps a Community Affairs
event on April 9 that focused on the study findings. And in "A
Conversation With . . .," business leader Kou Vang shares
his perspective on the Hmong community's economic evolution in the
A special feature discusses small-scale
farming, which is practiced by growing numbers of new immigrants.
The article outlines some of the barriers that can prevent new immigrants
from obtaining the land and credit they need to start a farm. It
profiles three programs that are designed to help farmers overcome
Lastly, two additional features focus on consumer
protection and education, respectively.
The first describes upcoming changes to Regulation C, which implements
the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The changes, effective in 2004,
are designed primarily to assist regulators in the enforcement of
fair lending laws and enable greater understanding of the subprime
mortgage market. The second announces a new Federal Reserve System
initiative to promote financial education. In the Fed's view, informed
consumers who can save, invest and manage credit wisely are a key
component of a healthy economy.