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."


trying to pay their loans and debts. It sends a message to every honest, hard-working homeowner that they are stupid to pay their mortgage because, if they don't, they can live there for free.

It's irresponsible. But at least it's refreshing to see Occupy trying to do something limited and local, rather than last years overblown "change the world" empty rhetoric.

Posted by Anonymous on Feb. 29, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

Too bad anonymous is uninformed about OccupyBernal's demands. No one is asking the banks to let people live for free.

Taxpayers bailed banks like Wells Fargo and BofA out, all of us. Interest rates are close to zero. The banks can afford to modify loans, but are foreclosing instead, with questionable and illegal practices as noted by independent auditors.

Modify loans to keep families in their homes.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 12:08 am

should their obligations be reduced? If I can't make my car payments, why should I be able to pay less.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Kick these deadbeats out, and move on.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 7:26 am

Look, Anonymous,these loans were predatory and were also the reason the economy tanked. The banks knew it and they put them out anyway, and into particular communities. Your black and white perspective on this is stale and chances are you're a realtor, a banker, or a land speculator. And considering you can spend the time to comments on this means that's the extent of your activism.

Posted by Anti-anonymous on Mar. 14, 2012 @ 9:43 am

I see the bankers stooges are hard at work here spreading their false propaganda,people take the blinders of before it to late....

Posted by guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 8:31 am

In 2008, the MBS crisis was caused by banks and borrowers making poor choices. That cratered the economy and resulted in tens of millions who did not make poor choices being sucked down an economic drain by the actions of others, losing their jobs and possibly their homes.

Can't put that toothpaste back in the tube.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 8:46 am

The prosecutors and public officials looking into this disaster, like Kamala Harris and Phil Ting, have barely scraped the surface of the institutional criminality behind it. That will come out only with investigation of the actual documents and workings of mortgage securitization, and the tsunami of Truth in Lending Act (TILA) violations committed when these loans were written to homeowners.

Most loans were structured to go bad as soon as the statute of limitations had expired. I.e., at the end of three years time, negative amortization payment options, which many borrowers never even understood, ran out, and much higher payments, and/or balloon payments were suddenly required. Homeowners who have let the statute of limitations run out have little recourse, at least with regard to the TILA violations, and few have the money to hire legal help once they're facing foreclosure, but public prosecutors should be encouraged to consider all prosecutorial options, including racketeering laws.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 10:05 am

In part of the conversation that I didn't have time to include in Saturday's KPFA News, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi said that he had contacted all three of the sheriffs in the country who grabbed headlines by refusing to continue with foreclosures and found that they had only been able to do so temporarily. He said that he had been able to slow one eviction long enough for the homeowner to go to court and get a stay, but yes, he's ultimately legally obliged to enforce court orders, much as he might dislike it.

California needs to become a judicial foreclosure state, meaning creditors should have to document their right to foreclose in court. Or the Assessor and Sheriff's office should be granted the authority to stop a foreclosure when documentation is so faulty as to make it illegal.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

But even if he did, he can't stop evictions and foreclosures, and would go to jail if he tried. One way or the other, he's gonna end up banged up.

If people would just pay their debts, they wouldn't get kicked out.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

Also from this author

  • Privatization of public housing

    Many residents feel they're moving from the frying pan of Housing Authority control into the fire of developer and nonprofit management

  • Homeless for the holidays

    Changing demographics in the Bayview complicate city efforts to open a shelter there

  • Betting on Graton

    Newest casino targeting Bay Area residents promises to share the wealth with workers and people of color