Report cover "Breaking the Bank / (Re)Making the Bank: America’s Financial Crisis and the Implications for Sustainable Advocacy for Fair Credit and Fair Banking"
February 2010

By Manuel Pastor, Rhonda Ortiz, and Vanessa Carter

Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

One of the biggest crises facing contemporary America is the wave of foreclosures and the broader financial meltdown. At the same time, the crisis has created the potential for change, particularly given the brewing advocacy around returning the benefits of our financial sector to consumers, not the financial elite. Advocates have argued not just for curbing the excesses of sub-prime mortgages, but also for limiting the impacts of payday loans, cash checking, and other predatory lenders, as well as revamping the Community Reinvestment Act and establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

Will this advocacy lead to sustainable change in the financial sector? Building on our earlier work on financial deserts in Los Angeles (Banking on LA) and our work on social movements (Making Change), we analyze the emerging advocacy with an eye toward the long-term potential for creating a financial justice movement. We suggest that organizers have made great progress but that it may be important to further popularize the financial equity frame, offer a viable economic model with accompanying pragmatic policies, and find intersections with the economic justice movement on a whole.

This paper was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and organized by the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.

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    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

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    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

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    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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