Access to credit is an important means of providing people with the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Loans are essential for most people who want to purchase a home, start a business, pay for college, or weather a spell of unemployment. Yet many people in poor and minority communities — regardless of their creditworthiness — find credit hard to come by, making the climb out of poverty extremely difficult. How dire are the lending markets in these communities and what can be done to improve access to credit for disadvantaged groups? In this book, editors Patrick Bolton and Howard Rosenthal and an expert team of economists, political scientists, and legal and business scholars tackle these questions with shrewd analysis and a wealth of empirical data.