Happy fall, everyone. We want to begin to introduce the newest Faculty Affiliates of our 2021-22 cohort. Last week, CSFE Content Marketing Specialist, Allie Todd, talked with Faculty Affiliate Craig Richardson about his work as director of the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM) and his involvement with CSFE.

Craig is a BB&T Distinguished Professor of Economics at Winston-Salem State University while overseeing the center’s research team of CSEM Faculty Fellows and working with Associate Director Alvin Atkinson on community outreach and student internships.

The mission of CSEM is focused on exploring the causes for the extraordinarily low economic mobility in Forsyth County, North Carolina, where Winston-Salem State University is located. It seeks to implement programs to enable people to gain economic mobility.

CSEM recently partnered with the New America’s Future of Land and Housing program on their “The Lending Hole at the Bottom of the Homeownership Market” report. This report analyzes what is stopping millions of would-be homeowners to acquire a mortgage.

One of the reasons for these problems with affordable housing are the effects of government regulations, like the Dodd-Frank bill. The regulations and the Dodd-Frank bill make it nearly impossible for people to get a mortgage for less than $70,000 since banks do not find it profitable since the 2008 financial crisis. Below is a graph from the report, detailing the profit line for banks to currently lend mortgages with these regulations in place.

“This wrinkle in affordable housing has received very low attention,” said Craig, “There are already a lot of affordable homes out there, but the rub is that people cannot get credit. They cannot get a mortgage for those homes.”

Across the country, and in Forsyth County specifically, this phenomenon disproportionately affects people based on socio-economic status. The Dodd-Frank bill was supposed to protect small homeowners from being exploited by predatory lending practices, but in turn, made it nearly impossible for people to get a mortgage for an affordable home and allowed investors to buy these homes in all-cash purchases.

“We at CSEM are always thinking about doing more than just a report, but actually getting the facts in the hands of people who could potentially make changes,” said Craig. “We think that there’s a role for the banks if they want to get involved, and if they want to get involved, they should put more resources into small mortgage lending practices.”

This report has been picking up quite a bit of media attention, even landing a spot in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, as well as Craig’s in-depth radio interview with WFDD, an NPR affiliate.

For his work with CSFE, Craig has been working with CSFE Director, Dr. Edward Lopez, to research how COVID-19 cases are changing as the virus moves through different populations, trying to develop some sort of metrics around predicting how that might change. Keep up with our social media and our website for upcoming information on this research.

We are proud to work with Craig and CSEM, and excited for him to be a part of CSFE’s 2021-22 Faculty Affiliate cohort.