“The Community Advisory Council (CAC) was formed by the Federal Reserve Board in 2015 to offer diverse perspectives on the economic circumstances and financial services needs of consumers and communities, with a particular focus on the concerns of low- and moderate-income populations. The CAC complements two of the Board’s other advisory councils–the Federal Advisory Council and the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council–whose members represent depository institutions. The CAC meets semiannually with members of the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.”
The Fed’s Seventh District comprises parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, plus the state of Iowa. Two members of the CAC hale from the Seventh District, one of whom was recently appointed. During this month we will publish a blog about each, in their own words, to give our readers some additional insight on our representatives to the CAC, and their points of view on community development policy priorities.
The newest CAC member from our district is Bethany Sanchez, who represents the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council. We asked her some straightforward questions about her role, responsibilities, and outlook.
Q: What do you do for Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and why is your work important to the community?
I direct the Fair Lending program at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, partnering with local, state and national groups to create programs and policies to increase fair lending and housing choice, and promote fair and affordable housing and equitable community development.
In that role, I monitor the lending records of banks serving the Milwaukee area and convene the Milwaukee CRA Coalition. I’m a member of the Board of Directors of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), a leader in Milwaukee’s homeownership consortium called Take Root Milwaukee, and an active participant in the Wisconsin Consumer Roundtable, Milwaukee’s Alliance for Economic Inclusion, the Financial Equity Coalition, and the Wisconsin Affordable Housing Coalition. Another big part of my work is providing a wide variety of community groups with outreach and education on fair housing, fair lending and the Community Reinvestment Act.
These interactions and relationships reinforce my understanding of the barriers to our goal of ensuring that every credit-worthy borrower has equal access to fairly-priced credit. Fair housing and fair lending laws are incredibly important. However, much more work is needed to ensure that all borrowers understand their rights and responsibilities, avoid predatory loans, and obtain home loans and small business loans that will help build wealth and secure a healthy, equitable future for their families and communities.
Q: Why was it important for you to get involved with the Chicago Fed and become a part of our Community Advisory Council?
I have been fortunate to be a Beige Book Survey participant for the Chicago Fed for a number of years. I hope my input has helped the Fed gain a deeper understanding of local trends in the Milwaukee region, especially as they relate to housing, jobs and community development. I expect that the national opportunity to serve on the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council will take that to the next level, informing the Federal Reserve Board and their staff about the financial concerns of Milwaukee area low- and moderate-income communities, and of opportunities to increase equal access to fairly-priced credit and capital.
Q: Tell us one thing that would help us to get to know you.
I am a strong believer in the importance of balance. The balance and interconnections between my professional, personal and spiritual life keep me engaged and motivated. Meditation helps me remember to seek understanding of the perspectives and motivations of those with whom I interact, striving to engage with others from a calm, balanced place of love.