News & Media

Contra Costa faith leaders take major step forward in "Bank Accountability" campaign

Housing Opportunities, Economic Security

October 24, 2009

Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO)

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, over 400 community residents packed the Dominican Hall at Holy Rosary Church in Antioch, CA to hold banks accountable for refusing to negotiate in good faith with homeowners. Joining them that night was the Reverend Jesse Jackson who offered words of inspiration and clarity on the effects of the banking system.

"We are taking action to hold banks and our public officials accountable to keep families in their homes, said Domingo Delgadillo, a leader from Holy Rosary Church, a member of PICO affiliate Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO). "Despite the massive outcry and the billions of dollars received in federal bailouts, the banks are still refusing to work with our families-but we will not give up!"

According to the HAMP data for September 2009, Bank of America has by far the worst record among the four largest servicers will only 11 percent of eligible homeowners receiving trial modifications. Worse yet, Bank of America is responsible for 780,000 families waiting for loan modifications.

These numbers reflect a disturbing trend that has affected thousands of families in Contra Costa County.

Wells Fargo's numbers are scarcely better. Wells Fargo/Wachovia has only helped 17% of those eligible homeowners who are more than 60 days delinquent and many families were told that Wells/Wachovia had no loan modification program in place as they continued to foreclose on families-a clear violation of the California Foreclosure Moratorium.

"61% of sub-prime loans went to people who qualified for prime loans with much better terms," said CCISCO leader Robin Rowell who presented the research report.

"The banks are playing games, and I hear this again and again from different people," said CCISCO leader Raul de Anda, "I don't have anyone to turn to, this is not the American dream." At the action, Mr. de Anda testified how his lender lost his certified check-despite bank records that it was cashed-and now is faced with foreclosure.

"You call the bank, and they don't even know if they have your paperwork," said Nelly Rubio, "My family is currently facing foreclosure, I'm here to ask the community for help, we need to put pressure on the banks."

The Rubio family is eligible for a loan modification under the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable program and has submitted their entire request for a modification. However, they have not had any response from Bank of America and were just notified that their home is scheduled for auction at the end of the month.

"We are ready to work with CCISCO as you begin to work to demand justice, we're going to work together, we're going to win this battle, because our battle is America's battle," Reverend Jesse Jackson told the crowd. "America must win, we must win. Greed, exploitation, lawlessness, the banks just robbed America, it is time for law and order in high places. Stand up and march now, demand justice now, this land is our land made for you and me."

The call for action increased as the meeting progressed.

"Together under CCISCO, we are working together to stop this injustice," said Fr. Robert Rien of St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church, "No one of us can do what ALL of us can do together - our voices will be heard and we will continue to work and to speak until this situation is reversed."

At the meeting, CCISCO leaders won commitments from the cities of Antioch and Oakley, as well as Contra Costa County, to develop divestment ordinances to pull deposits from banks that have been uncooperative with Contra Costa families, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America. In addition, city officials are arranging for CCISCO leaders to present at League of Mayor's Conference (19 local cities) to urge other cities to adopt similar measures.

CCISCO leaders also won a commitment from State Senator Mark DeSaulnier to convene a meeting with Attorney General Jerry Brown to initiate investigation into Wells Fargo for violation of California's Foreclosure Moratorium. Senator DeSaulnier also agreed to co-author an amendment that would strengthen the proposed Mandatory Mediation legislation.

Finally, a representative from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco agreed to convene banks to negotiate around CCISCO's foreclosure prevention demands and establish a lending consortium to negotiate local investment agreements.

BANK PROTEST SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24

To continue to hold banks accountable, CCISCO leaders will protest at the Bank of America on Somersville Rd., in Antioch on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 10:00am. Dozens of community residents will support all of the families with Bank of America who have qualified for loan modifications but continue to hear no response from Bank of America.

CCISCO leaders are demanding that Bank of America halt all foreclosure proceedings on all families who are eligible for loan modifications and that Mr. Martin Richards, regional president for Bank of America, meet face-to-face with CCISCO families to negotiate and restructure their loans.

With dozens of community residents at their side, CCISCO families like Nelly Rubio who have loans with Bank of America and who qualify for loan modifications will be demanding that their homes be pulled off the auction block and that Bank of America be accountable for restructuring their loan.

 

Media Coverage

Home loan protests in Antioch draw Bank of American to negotiating table, Catholic Voice, November 9, 2009