Sep 4, 2012
Four years after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were put under federal conservatorship, actions tomorrow and next Monday are targeting the agencies for blocking principal reduction in mortgage refinances.
On Wednesday, September 5, Occupy Chicago will rally at 5 p.m. at Fannie Mae’s office at 1 S. Wacker, where families facing eviction will speak out, and then march to President Obama’s campaign headquarters, 130 E. Randolph, where protestors will be chained together with balls representing mortgage debt.
It’s part of three days of actions targeting “Obama’s failures as president” and “how both Obama and Romney fail to represent the interests of the 99 Percent,” according to a Facebook announcement.
On Monday, September 10, local community groups joined by Occupy Our Homes groups from Minneapolis and Detroit will march from Daley Plaza at noon and rally in front of Fannie Mae (1 S. Wacker) at 1 p.m. and Freddie Mac (333 W. Wacker) at 2.
That protest is part of a national day of action against Fannie and Freddie by community groups working to stop foreclosures in several cities, said Stuart Schussler of Centro Autonomo of Albany Park. Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign is also participating.
Centro Autonomo protests at bank branches to support families in foreclosure who are seeking loan modifications. Principal reduction is a vital component of affordable loan mods, Schussler said.
“Sometimes we get a favorable response from the bank” that’s servicing the mortgage, but but if Fannie or Freddie holds the morgage – as they do in a large proportion of cases – “they’ll say it’s out of our hands,” he said.
Housing groups have been calling on Obama to replace Federal Home Financing Agency interim director Edward DeMarco, who has refused to allow Fannie or Freddie to do principal reduction – even after the Treasury Department belatedly embraced the idea.
“In the bigger picture we need some really profound changes in order to make good on housing as a human right, but in the short and medium term, DeMarco and the FHFA are in the way of getting help for a lot of people who are in trouble,” Schussler said.
The center does “community building” through popular education, health programs, and workers cooperatives, Schussler said.
Occupy groups have protested at the Republican and Democratic conventions, seeking to divert attention from the “horserace” to “the issues that matter to people,” said David Orlikoff of Occupy Chicago.
He points out that while the FBI estimates that financial institutions committed fraud in a large proportion of subprime loans, financial fraud prosecutions have dropped steadily under the Obama administration and are now at a 20-year low.