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Credit inequality a growing problem across upstate New York

Ellen Abbott
William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, speaks Monday at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse

A recent report by the Federal Reserve shows certain zip codes in the city of Rochester lack access to credit. This sort of credit inequality also most likely exists in the city of Syracuse.

William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, says the credit snapshot of Rochestershows an inequality when it comes to the ability of certain residents in certain neighborhoods to get credit, and the distress it causes when they can’t pay it back. He expects the outcome for the city of Syracuse would be very similar, and it can be indicative of the financial struggles that define certain neighborhoods.

“Sometimes you think of borrowing as a bad thing. But borrowing is also a good thing, because it can be used to finance things to facilitate your ability to move up the ladder,” said Dudley. “If you don’t have a car sometimes it’s hard to get to a job.”

Dudley says that kind of credit inequality can also be found in the Syracuse-area.

“I think the issue here is just how stark the divisions are by location,” he said. “And it’s hard to believe it’s so cliff-like. It seems to me it probably underscores the fact that there’s not an open enough attitude in certain areas.”

Dudley says being aware of this as a problem can help the community encourage more financial education at the neighborhood level.   

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.