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Bank locks out homeowners

Eight homeowners facing foreclosure will return Friday to a Bank of America branch in Albany Park where they were locked out last week.

Like other community groups, Centro Autonomo of Albany Park has held many similar actions at bank branches, with foreclosure victims and their supporters showing up to ask for face-to-face attention – and often they get results like loan modifications, principal write-downs, or just postponements, said Roberto de la Riva.

“Usually when we show up, the bank sends out a p.r. representative and we can have a decent conversation — we can talk to a flesh-and-blood person, get them to look at the case, and often we end up moving forward,” he said.

But when they showed up at the Bank of America branch at 4747 W. Irving last Friday, the bank locked the doors.

So Centro Autonomo and eight Bank of America clients are returning to the branch on Friday, October 12 at 12 noon.

The homeowners include Luis Ponsiano, whose whom went into forclosure after the bank stopped making autonomic withdrawals – which he could afford – from his account, according to CAAP.

There’s Lisa Nadig-Mehdipour, whose troubles started with a difficult divorce.  After repeated demands for resubmission of paperwork from the bank, her application was lost.  A month ago another BOA department told her to submit a new application, and a third department initiated foreclosure.

Vincente and Guadalupe Salgado, who live with their children and grandchildren, lost their jobs two years ago and are seeking an interest rate reduction to make their monthly payments affordable.

Jose Luna got a double-whammy from the economic crisis – he lost his job and his $250,000 home lost half its value.  But with rental income from an apartment he could pay his mortgage, if he could get a principal reduction.

Bank of America has transferred Katrina and Randy Patterson from department to department for over a year while they pursued a modification.  Now the bank has listed their home for sale — for one-third the amount on their mortgage.

Government programs to help homeowners have not worked well, de la Riva said, particularly with banks initiating foreclosures on homeowners while they are in trial modifications.  He supports a moratorium on foreclosure evictions.

CAAP is also advocating a community land trust, as provided for in the recent foreclosure fraud settlement with state attorney generals, de la Riva said.  Banks would donate vacant homes to a trust which would provide permament affordable housing and stabilize neighborhoods.

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Category: banks & credit, foreclosures

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