Wednesday, November 28, 2007

MECAWI Demonstrates Against Closed Mayor's Meeting on Foreclosure Crisis in Detroit

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kilpatrick: Lenders will help borrowers

David Josar
The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Kwame Kilpatrick, flanked on Tuesday by a handful of mayors from across the United States, unveiled a short-list of strategies aimed at helping homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Lenders, Kilpatrick announced after the meeting at the MGM Grand Detroit, pledged they would fund public service announcements that tell borrowers facing foreclosure where to go for help, and the Mortgage Bankers Association agreed to establish a database for city officials that would indicate which financial institutions were responsible for individual foreclosed properties that have been vacated.

"These are not people who are deadbeats. These are people who work hard every day," said Kilpatrick, who spent most of Tuesday meeting with the mayors, representatives of the banking industry and several nonprofits in a closed-door meeting. He said the group was told 72 percent of people in foreclosure could take steps to avoid losing their homes.

"This is an economic tsunami we have to make sure people can stay in their homes and contribute to the economy," he said

As details are worked out over how the service announcements will be funded and how the database would be instituted, the mayors said Wall Street financiers -- which had been blamed for creating a market that tolerated so many risky loans in the first place -- should somehow help in abating the crisis.

"The industry knows what they have done," Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer said. "Wall Street made a bunch of money off those people and the time has come for them to pay the piper too."

Several banks agreed to help fund the "Hope Hotline," (888) 995-HOPE, where callers are advised on ways to get on track with mortgage payments and other strategies.

Kilpatrick, Palmer and other members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors held a special meeting in Detroit on foreclosures.

Meanwhile a report released Tuesday by the group predicted the ongoing wave of foreclosures will slow consumer spending, impede home construction and cause more people to lose their jobs.

During the meeting, about a dozen members of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice marched outside the casino, upset that the mayors -- including Kilpatrick -- weren't doing enough to help people who were losing their homes.

Jerry Goldberg, who coordinated the protesters, said the meeting should be public -- especially because the elected mayors were meeting with bankers.

"Homeowners have a right to hear what is being said," said Goldberg, a resident in the city's East English Village neighborhood. "This is a good start but more must be done."

According to the group's report, prepared by economic and financial analysis firm Global Insight, the Detroit region ranks seventh in the nation in terms of metro areas that have suffered the greatest loss of economic activity due to foreclosures.

The report pegs the value of lost goods and services here at $3.2 billion.

The outlook is expected to worsen, the report said, as mortgages -- both conventional and those with higher interest rates given to applicants with spotty credit -- readjust to higher interest rates.

You can reach David Josar at (313) 222-2073 or

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