Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Detroit Activists Tell Bank of America: Stop Foreclosures!

DETROIT: Activists tell Bank of America: Stop foreclosures!

By Kris Hamel
Published Sep 12, 2010 11:19 PM

Members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs along with other labor, community and student supporters took on Bank of America on Sept. 1 with a protest outside a main BOA branch in downtown Detroit. Protesters were livid that BOA, which has received billions in bailout money from the U.S. government, refuses to modify Michelle Hart’s mortgage.

Protesters loudly chanted, “Stop foreclosures, stop evictions! Moratorium now!” and “Bail out the people, not the banks!” while hoisting placards demanding relief for the Hart family; a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs; and a federally funded jobs program.

Like millions of people around the country, Hart lost her job, fell behind in her mortgage and then found temporary work at reduced wages. Now she is able and willing to make her mortgage payments, but Countrywide and Bank of America refuse to modify her loan to reflect her reduced income. Hart and her elderly mother, who has pancreatic cancer, face imminent eviction from their home in Southfield, Mich.

According to a Moratorium NOW! leaflet, “The bank refuses to modify her usurious, adjustable-rate mortgage, even though it signed a binding Consent Agreement with the Attorney General’s office on Oct. 6, 2008, to modify loans. ...

“Ms. Hart has fought in court for a year and a half now to get BOA and Countrywide to abide by the Consent Agreement and modify her loan. But the bank refuses and is forging full steam ahead to evict her and her mother. ... BOA would rather toss them out on the street than negotiate a loan modification.”

Coalition activists are also targeting BOA for failing to participate in Michigan’s Help for Hardest Hit Homeowners program. Not a single one of the major lenders has volunteered for this program, which is supposed to help unemployed workers receive loan modifications and save their homes. BOA and other banks and lenders don’t participate because they can receive from the federal government the full value of foreclosed homes, while families are put out on the street.

The coalition is asking people around the country to contact BOA’s CEO at brian.t.moynihan@bankofamerica.com and ask why BOA refuses to modify Michelle Hart’s loan and refuses to participate in the Helping Hardest Hit Homeowners program.

Bryan G. Pfeifer contributed to this article.
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