News & Media

Community Leaders Bring U.S. Treasury to San Jose

People Acting in Community Together (PACT San Jose)

June 23, 2010

Contacts:  Jenne Wood-Taylor - 408-835-6708 (Spanish/ English), Gina Gates, 408.835.3000 (English/ Spanish),  Jose González - 408.802.4559 (Spanish) Ignacio Coloma - 408-274-7336 (English), Mercy Martinez, 408-813-8021 (English)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                         

June 23, 2010                                                                         

SAN JOSÉ, CA                                                                             

Community Leaders Bring U.S. Treasury to San Jose

Obama's Promise of Help for Homeowners is Failing

Changes Needed to Hold Banks Accountable

WHAT:      U.S. Treasury Hearing - Laurie Maggiano, Policy Director for the Homeownership Preservation Office at the U.S. Treasury Dept., will hear community reports on the economic and social impact of the foreclosure crisis on Silicon Valley and the Bay Area and the need for changes to the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) to stop preventable foreclosures.  

WHEN:    Thursday, June 24, 7:00-8:30pm PST

WHERE:  Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 2040 Nassau Dr. San José, 95122

WHY:  The U.S. Treasury Department is responsible for implementing President Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) that promised to help 3-4 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Fewer than 10% of these homeowners have received permanent loan modifications. The rest are desperately waiting for responses from the banks or have lost their homes, impacting not only families but also our communities and the economy.

In response to urgent calls for change from faith and community leaders with the PICO National Network, the U.S. Treasury agreed to hold 10 hearings across the country to learn about community members' experiences with HAMP and banks. The San Jose hearing will be hosted by Most Holy Trinity (MHT) PACT faith and community leaders who have been working for solutions to the foreclosure crisis since 2008.  See video clips of meetings with public officials and bank executives and community testimonies at http://www.youtube.com/user/pactsj#g/c/27AE597C5D578914 

Community members from throughout the Bay Area will share their first-hand experience of the failure of HAMP and of banks to work with responsible homeowners. Public officials will share the devastating and far-reaching impact on their cities and the state.

Specifically, PACT and PICO will call on the U.S. Treasury to:

1.    Improve the HAMP process by:

§  Changing it from a voluntary program to requiring banks/mortgage servicers to comply.

§  Making principal reductions an automatic part of permanent loan modifications.

§  Creating automatic conversion of trial to permanent loan modifications for homeowners who make three on-time trial modification payments.

§  Making the banks' decision-making process clear to homeowners by making the Net Present Value test transparent. 

§  Creating an independent appeals process to investigate denials, challenge mortgage servicers/banks and work to resolution.

§  Releasing detailed local data by zip code on mortgage servicer/bank compliance.

§  Tracking bank/servicer-level data on HAMP eligible homeowners by zip code.


2.    Create a new loan program to help unemployed homeowners using the $30 billion+ in unspent HAMP funds.

3.    Report the findings from the Hearing to Treasury Secretary Geithner and other Obama Administration leaders to urge them to take action.

Banks spend $1.5 M every day lobbying the federal government for their interests of profit. The national economy and communities in the Bay Area and across the country have suffered because the banks have been allowed to put their interests above the basic needs and values of American families.  

MHT-PACT and PICO are calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to exercise their full authority to hold banks accountable. On June 24 Treasury will hear that from their true constituents, homeowners struggling to keep their homes. 

The focus on the U.S. Treasury is based on the extensive community organizing of PACT and PICO over the past two years to create solutions to the foreclosure crisis. PACT leaders have challenged and partnered with local and state officials to stop preventable foreclosures and protect neighborhoods hit hard by the crisis.

With their colleagues in the PICO National Network, PACT leaders launched a divestment campaign against Bank of America, the big national bank with the most predatory loans and the worst loan modification record. See www.OurMoneyOurValues.org. The federal government must do more to get the banks to change their policies and practices, efforts that would go far to help rebuild the economy.

*  PACT: People Acting in Community Together is a multi-ethnic, interfaith organization that empowers people to create a more just community.  PACT represents 22 congregations and over 50,000 people in Santa Clara County, and is part of the PICO National Network.  www.pactsj.org

*  PICO National Network has 52 affiliated federations working in 150 cities and 17 states and is more than one million families and one thousand congregations from 40 different denominations and faiths. www.piconetwork.org