Suing the Bankers

More

Related to the foreclosures issue (and, of course, The Wire) it seems that Baltimore is suing Wells Fargo Bank "contending that its lending practices discriminated against black borrowers and led to a wave of foreclosures that has reduced city tax revenues and increased its costs." It's possible, of course, that this is a good idea but one needs to be very careful in this territory. The last thing a struggling city like Baltimore needs to do is create a situation where banks just figure they'd rather not lend anything to anyone in the city for fear of lawsuits if things don't work out.

It's by no means a policy book, but one thing that comes through loud and clear in Sudhir Venkatesh's Off The Books is that inability to secure formal, legal credit from proper banks is a big obstacle for inner-city underground entrepreneurs who'd like to take their successes above-board. Meanwhile, however bad the terms a real bank may offer a person in a sketchy neighborhood, you're way better off with the bank than with the loan shark or the checks cashed guy or the payday loan emporium.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In