Small business plays an important role in the nation’s communities. A contributed article by Karen Gordon Mills, former administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, describes significant trends in how online lenders and banks are providing credit to small businesses. In the changing landscape of small business lending, some partnerships have emerged to better serve creditworthy borrowers in underserved areas. Another article highlights findings of a recent survey of small businesses in 26 states conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and six other Reserve Banks, including the Philadelphia Fed.

Meanwhile, ex-offenders need assistance as they re-enter communities, and one article reports on an unusual partnership by a bank, a community college, and a health-care system that seeks to reduce the rate of recidivism and improve outcomes for individuals and families. The bank, which is based in Stroudsburg, PA, is providing ex-offenders with financial education and loans for housing, transportation, or education and training.

In coverage concerning older people, an Urban Institute report finds that low-income older adults face high housing costs and serious financial challenges. Data provided in the Mapping Our Community feature show that the number of older adults in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware is expected to grow from 3.3 million to 5.4 million from 2010 to 2030. Readers may also be interested in viewing materials (agenda with links to speakers' presentations and video) from a conference on Meeting the Financial Needs of Older Adults held March 2 at the Philadelphia Fed.

One article summarizes a research study on the effect of down payment assistance on the performance of affordable housing mortgage loans. There is also coverage of What It’s Worth, a new book developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Corporation for Enterprise Development that examines financial health and well-being from many perspectives. A related event that will feature researchers from the public health and community development fields and explore potential for cross-border collaboration will be held May 5, 2016, at the Philadelphia Fed.