On the eve of Wells Fargo’s annual shareholders meeting in San Antonio, TX on Tuesday, home defenders, students, community groups, and activists in ten cities took peaceful action against the bank. Petitions signed by thousands of people were delivered to Wells Fargo branches and offices across the country calling on CEO John Stumpf to change the bank’s predatory practices.
Earlier this month, we put the word out that we were planning to take on Wells Fargo and the response we got was overwhelming. So many people registered for an organizing conference call that we had to schedule a second one just to accommodate everyone.
Well’s Fargo’s well-documented history of abusive and discriminatory lending, servicing, and foreclosure practices have caused millions of families to lose their homes or be underwater on their mortgages. The bank’s actions have devastated communities across the country- impacting everyone from homeowners facing foreclosure, to students struggling to afford school, and immigrants fighting to keep their families intact. Even Wells Fargo employees are stepping forward to talk about how the company’s predatory practices hurt their workers and communities.
On April 29, Wells Fargo will celebrate it’s record as the country’s most profitable bank at their annual shareholders meeting in San Antonio, TX. People around the country are organizing to send a message to the bank that these predatory practices have to stop. Home defenders have launched petitions online, and planned actions at local Wells Fargo branches and offices, and some are even traveling to San Antonio to confront the bank’s executives directly.
On Wednesday February 19, supporters delivered petitions signed by over 2,000 people to Wells Fargo branches around the country, urging the bank not to foreclose on Lavinia Curry, an 86 year old Grandmother in Irvington, NJ.
Despite being the most profitable US bank in 2013, Wells Fargo continues to foreclose on struggling homeowners, often refusing to work with families to keep them in their homes. The latest victim, Lavinia Curry, purchased her Irvington, NJ home in 2003 with the help of her children, fulfilling her lifelong dream of homeownership. In 2010, the family missed ONE mortgage payment, but attempted to make the missed payment the very next month. Wells Fargo refused to accept the payment and began the process of foreclosure instead. A sheriff’s sale of the family’s home is scheduled for next month.
50 community members, holding red roses in solidarity, rallied in support of Rose McGee Tuesday as she faced off against Fannie Mae in settlement court alleging wrongful foreclosure. When Fannie Mae still refused to offer a fair deal, the judge ordered for them to return for further court mediation May 14.
“The outcome of the court process today was very disappointing,” said Rose McGee. “The offer that Fannie has made is unreasonable. If they made a reasonable offer, I would gladly accept it. I think now that I’m being used as a scapegoat because they’re faced with so many cases like mine that they don’t want to set a precedent of losing this one.”
Rose, who has been fighting her foreclosure for over a year, fell victim last May to a process called “dual tracking”: as CitiMortgage told her they were modifying her loan, they sold the home to Fannie Mae at a sheriff sale. In January, Rose met with Fannie Mae executives in D.C. who promised they were working on a loan modification–but she was dual tracked again when they continued pushing forward with the eviction at the same time.
Tuesday’s rally came as part of New Bottom Line’s national Dump DeMarco campaign, calling on the Obama administration to fire Ed DeMarco, the federal administrator overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and replace him with a permanent director who will implement national principal reduction–resetting mortgages to fair market value.
Last week, Occupy Our Homes members from Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Minneapolis joined Terry Horn in Dunlap, Tennessee to deliver a petition to Citizen’s Tri-County Bank’s Chairman and CEO, Glenn Barker.
Terry and his sister Sherrie have been fighting to save their 86 year old mother Helen’s home from the bank. The mortgage on the family’s Bridgeport, Alabama home was paid off over 40 years ago, but Citizen’s Tri-County is attempting to place on lein on the home to satisfy a debt they claim Helen owes. A few months ago, Terry reached out to Occupy Our Homes for help. He created a campaign on Start2.occupyourhomes.org that has generated thousands of signatures so far.
Today actions in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco will target Wells Fargo and US Bank, asking them to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by halting foreclosures and evictions of cancer patients and others batting serious illness and instead negotiate fair and affordable mortgages that will allow families to stay in their homes.
The organizers are highlighting the cases of Jacqueline Barber of Georgia and Ana Casas Wilson in Los Angeles who are each battling cancer and working with housing activists to resist imminent evictions after facing foreclosure despite repeated pleas to the banks to renegotiate their home loans. Occupy Homes Atlanta activists have set up an encampment at the home of Jacqueline Barber, a retired police officer; the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) working to stop the eviction of Casas, a longtime advocate for the disabled.
More details on the campaigns, as well as the four events today, are below the fold.
This morning, Occupy Our Homes Atlanta was able to stave of the eviction of JoSelf Freeman, who was facing eviction at the hands of Bank of America and Fannie Mae. JoSelf has a petition going on Start2.OccupyOurHomes.org and has been working with Occupy Our Homes Atlanta to keep his home. Here’s the update on this mornings victory from OOH ATL:
With ya’lls help we were able to put off JoSelf’s eviction this morning! If it weren’t for all the calls, emails, and folks in JoSelf yard there’s no doubt that his belongings would be in the yard.
JoSelf has been granted an additional 17 days before another eviction date. That means we have 17 days to building JoSelf campaign and convince Fannie Mae and Bank of America to do the right thing.
For those that haven’t seen it, here is JoSelf’s story:
More below the fold
Ana Casas Wilson of South Gate, California has been fighting Wells Fargo and US Bank for her home. Peggy Mears of the community group ACCE reports that, “She has been struggling for months to get Wells Fargo and US Bank to accept her money and stop foreclosing on her home of forty years. She is now faced with being forcibly evicted from her home by sheriff’s deputies tomorrow (Wednesday).”
ACCE is organizing to help Ana and has asked supporters around the country to make calls to Wells and US Bank today to stop the eviction.
Can you call US Bank CEO Richard K. Davis at 877-753-0557 and Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf at 888-253-8295 and tell them to negotiate with Ana Casas Wilson of South Gate?
Read more about Ana and get a call script below the fold.
Today US Bank and GMAC lawyers fought to lift the stay on Jacqueline Barber’s home. Although we packed the courtroom with supporters, they were successful, which brings them one step closer to being able to evict Jacqueline and her four young grandchildren. The case failed because Jacqueline’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which was grounds for the stay) was filed after the home was sold on the court house steps.
It is clear that US Bank and GMAC intent to begin the eviction process immediately.
Jacqueline has made it clear that she will fight no matter what stating that, “If they come to put me out, I hope Occupy Our Homes will be carried out with me because they’re going to have to have to physically remove me from the property. I refuse to roll over and play dead.”
Occupy Our Homes ATL plans to dual track the bank the same way they dual tracked Jacqueline and millions of other Americans. Jacqueline was dual tracked when America’s Servicing Company claimed they were working on her modification while simultaneously foreclosing on her. Occupy Our Homes ATL will dual track US Bank and GMAC by helping Jacqueline pursue legal action in state court and taking aggressive direct action to keep Jacqueline and her family in their home.
Tomorrow morning at 11am we will be launching a full scale 24/7 occupation of Jacqueline’s home. We will be joined by many of Jacqueline’s former co-workers at the APD and other supporters, many of whom have committed to refuse to leave when the marshals come to evict. We invite the press for interviews at 11am.
(More details below the fold)