Renowned Consumer Expert Outlines �Predatory Lending� Dangers, 

How �Community Investing� Alternative Makes a Real Difference

The United States experienced unprecedented prosperity in recent years, but many communities were left behind in the process.These communities � including many women, older Americans, and people of color � are in dire need of small business development, affordable housing, job development, childcare, and other vital social services.

Unfortunately, predatory lenders are robbing America�s distressed communities of what little wealth they have, leaving families devastated. These predators use abusive marketing practices to push unscrupulous loans with high fees, exorbitant costs, and other unscrupulous lending practices on unsuspecting consumers.The result: Homes of targeted groups - often the elderly, women and people of color in low-income communities � are stripped of equity.

Recognized consumer expert Alisa Gravitz is executive director of the nonprofit Co-op America and vice chair of the nonprofit Social Investment Forum. She also is a veteran of numerous radio and TV interviews and can speak about the new, free consumer pocket guide �Building Communities,� a joint publication of Co-op America and the Forum.  

�Building Communities� outlines the dangers of predatory lending and how Americans can use community investing to rebuild the same neighborhoods targeted by predatory lenders.Some of the topics covered in the pocket guide include:

         Spotting and avoiding the predatory lenders who can hurt you, your family and your community.

         Signs that tell if you are already in the grips of a predatory lender.

         Explaining �community investing� alternatives that are available to everyone. 

Alisa Gravitz also co-authored Co-op America�s popular guide to social investing, which has helped more than 400,000 people invest their money according to their values and she writes regular columns and articles on sustainable living. She earned her MBA at Harvard University and her BA in Economics and Environmental Sciences at Brandeis University.

AVAILABILITY:  Via telephone nationwide during April-May 2001 by arrangement.

CONTACT:  Paul Lopez (703) 276-1116, ext. 256.

For information about community investing, predatory lending, or the 1% in Communities Campaign contact Todd Larsen, managing director of Co-op America at 202-872-5310, or [email protected].