#OccupyWallStreet is not the only set of anti-bank protests going on in the country. The New Bottom Line has a rolling series of protests happening right now. This one against Bank of America in Boston, with bus shelters made up to look like foreclosed homes, is a good example. So is this effort in East Oakland, CA, where activists are bringing trash into bank branches to symbolize the trashing of local communities from neglected foreclosed properties.
One of the more poignant protests, organized by the group Make Banks Pay California, has a very specific set of demands. Rose Mary Gudiel, a homeowner in Bassett, CA, has just been served with an eviction notice. And as she says in this testimonial, she’s refusing to go:
It is hard for us to believe the manner in which we have been treated by first Indy Mac, then One West bank and now Fannie Mae. After the unfortunate passing of our youngest brother, our family fell behind two weeks on our mortgage payment. During this time, in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown, I was also furloughed from my state job helping others to find employment. It was a miracle that we made it through that time, but we did. We did it by staying focused, working hard, making sacrifices and most importantly coming together as a family.
But my circumstances meant nothing to the bank. OneWest refused my mortgage payment that was just two weeks late. Although three of us have full-time jobs and we are able to pay, they have refused every single payment ever since. Instead, we’ve been taken on a roller coaster ride of paperwork requests, false promises and denials. It makes no sense [...]
Stopping preventable foreclosures is better for families, neighborhoods, and our economy. How is it better to flood our neighborhoods with vacant, abandoned foreclosures than to have homeowners keep paying their mortgage and keep up their properties? Or in other cases to sell them at half the price – lower even than a modified mortgage they could offer to me on my own home first?
That’s why we have decided that we are refusing to leave. We are asking that our eviction be halted and that out loan be modified so we can stay. But if the sheriff comes first, we are refusing to move. And we’ll be joined by the hundreds of friends, neighbors, supporters and co-workers that have pledged to stand with us.
This falls in line with so many foreclosure horror stories that I’ve heard, where the homeowner through little fault of their own faces an eviction by an unfeeling servicer that sees more advantage in foreclosure than modification. Sometimes the modifications and the foreclosures happen on the same track. Overall, the servicing industry has shown itself as unable to help homeowners in any way, and massive human suffering has resulted.
So Rose Mary Gudiel is taking a stand. And her neighbors are rallying to her side.
More than 30 people rallied Wednesday morning at the home of Rose Gudiel, where she tearfully admonished Pasadena bank OneWest and Fannie Mae for “crushing” her American dream.
An El Monte Superior Court commissioner ruled Sept. 6 that Gudiel and her elderly parents are unlawfully occupying their house and ordered they vacate the premises within two weeks.
Typically, the L.A. County Sheriff will come post a five-day notice on the home, once the two weeks have expired.
“I was expecting the sheriff to come give me my five-day notice yesterday or today,” said an emotional Gudiel. “But I’m not leaving, either way. I’m willing to go to jail. My family is willing to go. We’re just not leaving.”
Gudiel is a public employee, incidentally, as both an in-home care worker and with the California Employment Development Department.
Peter Dreier writes that this is just the beginning of a wave of protests, an outgrowth of frustration and anger against banks that take in record profits at the expense of their customers. And while some commentators have criticized #OccupyWallStreet for a lack of a focused message, the Rose Mary Gudiel case is pretty simple – let her keep her home.