Smart Women Smart Money

May 11, 2009

Hosted by Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, this financial literacy conference for women will feature The Huffington Post finance blogger Manisha Thakor. Breakout sessions include Make Every Dollar Count, Cashing Out — Live the Life You Want, and Eve-olution – Investing for Financial Empowerment.  Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m., and the conference will run from 8:45 a.m to 1:30 p.m.

The event is free and lunch is provided, but registration is required–CLICK HERE to access a registration form, or visit (click on the Smart Women Smart Money link).

For more information, contact Barbara Chalko at (312) 814-4338, or at

To read more about the breakout sessions, CLICK HERE

Gateway Center
1 Gateway Drive


Five Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

April 1, 2009

The Federal Reserve just came out with an ad for a section of their website, “Five Tips for Avoiding Foreclosure Scams.”  The ad urges people who may be facing foreclosure to check out this section of to get trusted information on how to avoid foreclosure scams.

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure, be sure to take a look at the Fed’s site–you should only work with HUD-certified counselors, and you shouldn’t have to pay a lot of money to get help. 

The Financial Crisis

March 30, 2009

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis developed a website designed to keep the community informed about the financial crisis and what actions the Fed is taking in response to the crisis.

The website includes recent news, a timeline of events, articles about the crisis, frequently asked questions, and a glossary of important financial terms.

To check out the website, CLICK HERE.

Federal Reserve Forum on Community Colleges

March 23, 2009

Tomorrow, March 24th, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will host a forum called Community Colleges: A Route of Upward Economic Mobility, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  St. Louis Federal Reserve economist Natalia Kolesnikova will present the findings from recent research done about the role of community colleges in higher education.  After her presentation, a panel will talk about other impacts of community college.

Below are the forum’s panelists (confirmed and invited):
Moderator: Roderick Nunn, St. Louis Community College Workforce and Community Development Vice Chancellor (invited)
Community College Representative: Zelema Harris, St. Louis Community College Chancellor (invited)
Georgia Costello, Southwestern Illinois College President (invited)
Workforce and Community College Development Representative : Michael Holmes, St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE)
Executive Director (confirmed)
Debra Moore, St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Dept. (invited)
Four-year Institution Representative: Terry Barnes, University of Missouri Columbia Assistant Provost for Community College Partnerships (confirmed)
Community College Association Representative: A representative from the Missouri Community College Association (invited)

To read the full article by Ms. Kolesnikova, CLICK HERE.

You can also check out the event on our new Community Calendar.

A Breakdown of the Stimulus Package

March 16, 2009

When we interviewed Dr. Bill Emmons of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, he gave us a chart that explained where the stimulus package money would go and how much St. Louis could expect from the package.  To check out the chart, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Emmons also explains the stimulus package in this video:

St. Louis Fed Convenes Innovators to Face the Crisis

October 1, 2008
October 1, 2008


On Wednesday and Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, a Facing the Mortgage Crisis project partner, teamed up with the Minneapolis and Chicago Federal Reserve Banks to put on a seminar called “Neighborhood Stabilization in Weak Markets.” The seminar, though open to the public, filled up quickly, a testament to the timeliness of the conference and importance of the issue.


Among the attendees was another Facing the Mortgage Crisis project partner, Mike Duncan of the St. Louis County Department of Planning, who I spoke to about his experience. Mike was effusive in his praise of the conference, which he described as timely in light of the soon-to-be released HUD guidelines for Neighborhood Stabilization grants. The conference featured innovative presentations and state of the art methods for addressing the issue of neighborhood stabilization. He hopes that the conference will help the state and local government officials who attended to use their grant money in effective ways to maximize its benefit to the community.


The conference is part of the Federal Reserve System’s Recovery, Renewal and Rebuilding series, which you can learn more about at:


I also spoke to Matt Ashby of the St. Louis Federal Reserve about not only the conference, which was a great success, but also about what the bank is doing on a regular basis on issues related to the mortgage crisis. The bank takes a three-pronged approach to the crisis: mitigating, preventing, and intervening. To learn more about what the St. Louis branch is doing on the mortgage crisis, check out their new Foreclosure Resource Center at:


The Fed also plays a supervisory role in this crisis, so Matt was excited to get the word out about new regulations that help the Fed to prevent mortgage fraud and protect consumers. These regulations were developed based on the Truth in Lending Act. They tighten restrictions on lenders so that they are required to check on basic things like whether a person has the ability to pay back their loans. To learn more about the new regulations, check out the press release at:

888-995-HOPE offers free counseling by phone and…chat room?

August 20, 2008
August 20, 2008

After reading St. Louis Beacon’s latest mortgage crisis article, I surfed around the St. Louis Fed site to look into their foreclosure resources. Both the Fed and NeighborWorks refer homeowners to (888)-995-HOPE, a foreclosure help line run by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.

Linda Ingram mentioned last week to me that she sometimes sends clients to this HOPE line, and has a lot of faith in the service. When I looked them up, I found a blog post near the top of the search results that criticized them for not helping people who aren’t actually in foreclosure.  I’d like to set the record straight that this is not true.

I called (888)-995-HOPE this afternoon and was immediately connected to someone who wanted to put me in touch with the next available housing counselor. I asked if there was help available to me if I wasn’t in foreclosure yet. What if I’d lost my job or my rate adjusted and I feared I’d fall behind in the next month or two? “It’s always good to be proactive and we’ve got plenty of people who can help you,” she told me.

Another service offered through them that I’ve not seen anywhere else is the option to chat online with a housing counselor. Though I believe it’s most effective to visit a counselor in person, this could still be a useful service–especially to those who can’t take time off work for an appointment. You can use the online chat feature to simply ask a few questions or to do an all-out counseling session.

 I think this could also benefit night owls such as myself. Personally, I do the most worrying (and occasionally some problem solving) between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m., usually because I forgot to make the car payment or I can’t figure out why my credit card interest rate keeps going up. I can’t exactly call these places on the phone so late, so I’d likely take full advantage of the option to get online and ask a professional what to do.  The online foreclosure chat is a new concept to me, but it may be yet another valuable free resource.

To learn more about the HOPE line or the online chat feature, visit