Save our homes - Page 2

Occupiers are still fighting foreclosures, from Bernal Heights to the doorstep of Wells Fargo's CEO

Protesters demonstrate outside Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf's home on Feb. 21.

You have failed to comply with loan modification requirements under your own lending agreements," said a blown-up "foreclosure notice" outside Stumpf's home.

In the spirited street theater scene, activists dressed as an auctioneer and a larger-than-life John Stumpf played out a fake auction of Stumpf's property.

Dexter Cato, a father of four whose wife was recently killed in a car crash in the midst of months-long loan modification proceedings, faces foreclosure from his Bayview home of 40 years.

"Stumpf, we want a new address for you," said Archbishop Franzo King of the Western Additions' John Coltrane church, "850 Bryant Street!"

The crowd then proceeded to chant this address: the San Francisco Hall of Jusice and County Jail.

"We understand that some of our customers are going through difficult times during this economic recovery," said Jim Foley, president of Wells Fargo's Greater Bay Area region, in a press release responding to the Feb. 25 protest. The company plans to hold "Home Preservation Workshops" in Richmond March 7 and 8 to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

Public officials may be a long way from locking up CEOs for foreclosure fraud, but some have taken notice of complaints against the banks. On Feb. 2, the Berkeley City Council voted not to extend its contract with Wells Fargo to manage $300 million in city assets, citing its foreclosures on city residents.

On a national level, activists have been successful in persuading people to transfer their money to local banks and credit unions in recent months. Javelin Strategy and Research came out with statistics that 5.6 million Americans have switched bank service providers in the past 90 days, three times the normal transfer rate. Bank Transfer Day in early October was specifically cited as the trigger by 610,000 of those people.

The recent $25 billion settlement between the five largest banks and attorneys general in California and other states over mortgage fraud made big headlines, but activists note that it allocates a measly $2,000 to some people who have lost their homes to foreclosure. Occupy Bernal's Buck Bagot said people need more protection from powerful banks. "Banks suckered people into this stuff, and they have made billions," Bagot said. "We're not saying people shouldn't have to pay off the money they borrowed, but it took two to tango."

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