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Everyone knows this is a time in which jobs are at a premium and in which politicians and developers are happy to welcome just about any new business to their communities.

But, isn’t somebody going to mention the fact that Charlotte’s new big, new soon-to-be resident, Chiquita Brands International (aka United Fruit), is a corporation with a well-earned reputation as one of the most notorious and rapacious corporate exploiters in modern history?

Add to this the fact that to land the company, state and local officials had to ply it with public funds and lure it away from another American “Queen City” in need of jobs and it’s enough to make the whole thing feel extremely dirty and distasteful.

Maybe “Chiquita” has mended some of its ways since the days in which its bosses were treating entire nations as play things, but if its most recently displayed willingness to extort public funds is any indication, it still has a long way to go.

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Heads up Queen City folk — N.C. Policy Watch is coming to Charlotte for a special Crucial Conversation luncheon.

We’re calling it:  “Divide and conquer? What a year of conservative control has meant for the North Carolina General Assembly.”

When:  Wednesday, November 2 – Lunches will be available at 11:45 and the program will begin at 12 noon 

Where: Harris Hall at the Levine Museum of the New South, 200 E. Seventh St. in downtown Charlotte

We’ll feed you with a lot of good information and good food all for just $10. Hope to see you on the November 2nd!

Click kere for more information.

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A new report refutes criticism of the Community Reinvestment Act, and instead shows that the law motivates lenders to make better loans.

Paying More for the American Dream III, jointly published by seven regional policy groups, looks at how implementation of the CRA influenced the pricing of loans.  The conclusions reveal that when banks and thrifts were obligated to follow the CRA, they made fewer high-cost loans.  When unfettered by the CRA, their loan pricing mirrored the pilloried independent mortgage companies (i.e. IndyMac, E-Loan, First Franklin, or DecisionOne, among others).

Let’s review how the CRA works: banks and thrifts are examined by their lending to low and moderate income (LMI) borrowers or to borrowers in LMI neighborhoods. The law is enforced only in places where those banks have branches with deposits.  BB&T has CRA obligations in Raleigh or Atlanta, but not in Philadelphia.  Wells now has them in Charlotte, but it didn’t in 2007.  Not a bank or thrift? Then there’s no obligation at all.

That sorts into three kinds of lenders: banks bound by CRA, banks operating where they aren’t, and independents. This table, from the study, compares their percentages of high-cost loans to LMI groups.

Among Loans Made to LMI Borrowers, or in LMI neighborhoods, CRA-obligated lenders make fewer "high-cost" loans.CRA-obligated lenders made fewer high-cost loans to LMI groups.

Charlotte lending supports the report’s theme: without CRA, low income families would be paying a lot more for their mortgages.