IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 30, 2009
|Contact: Austin King, Director, ACORN Financial Justice Center, (608) 213-0104Bonnie Mathias, ACORN Board member, (214) 533-9032|
ACORN Home Defenders to Confront “Home Wrecker 4”
Will Demand Participation in Obama’s Foreclosure Prevention Program from Goldman Sachs’ Litton, Barclay’s HomEq, American Home Mortgage, and OneWest
(Washington, DC) – ACORN members, allies, and struggling homeowners today are directly confronting in the streets and online those mortgage companies who have still refused to sign up for President Obama’s $ 75 billion Making Home Affordable plan to prevent up to 4 million foreclosures. Protests and rallies are taking place today in Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Wilmington, in which ACORN is taking its demand directly to the “Home Wrecker 4”: Litton, owned by Goldman Sachs, HomEq, owned by Barclays, American Home Mortgage Servicing, and OneWest. Collectively, these four servicers are responsible for the loans of 2 million American families, but they have not signed up for the Obama plan. (To see a list of participating companies, visit: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/contact_servicer.html)
“Every 13 seconds another American family loses its home in this never-ending crisis,” said Bertha Lewis, ACORN CEO. “President Obama has proposed a real solution to attack the heart of the crisis – unaffordable mortgage payments from predatory loans. Yet the Administration’s program is voluntary and requires mortgage companies to sign up on their own. We are grateful that more than 80% of the industry has taken this simple step, but we will not rest until every homeowner is afforded the same basic protection and right to be considered for a loan modification prior to foreclosure.”
Under the Obama plan, a mortgage company must perform a simple comparison and show that a foreclosure represents the smaller loss to investors compared to a subsidized modification prior to foreclosing upon a family. If a homeowner’s loan is with Citi, Chase, Bank of America, GMAC, Ocwen, and many other companies, they are afforded this protection, but homeowners whose loans ended up with Litton, HomEq, American Home Mortgage, and OneWest do not enjoy that protection.
“Getting an affordable loan modification shouldn’t be like winning the lottery”, said Lewis. “Loan modifications should be the guaranteed result whenever it’s in the interests of all parties, but we know the industry has been incredibly slow to provide the number of affordable loan modifications needed to meet the challenge posed by the crisis. These last four major mortgage servicers who have still not signed on to the Obama foreclosure prevention plan – the ‘Home Wrecker 4’ – need to get with the program and start modifying loans, today. We have no time to spare in the fight to save American homeownership.”
Many of the companies in question have benefited from enormous US taxpayer largesse. Goldman Sachs, the parent company of Litton, received $10 billion in TARP and another $12 billion from the government’s bailout of AIG. Barclays, owner of HomEq, is a British bank ineligible for TARP funds but still took more than $8 billion from US taxpayers through the AIG bailout. OneWest, what emerged from the wreckage of IndyMac, would not exist if not for the guarantees and subsidies from the FDIC and ultimately taxpayer backing.
“Especially given how much support these companies have received from taxpayers, it seems quite reasonable that they should step up and do at least the bare minimum in foreclosure prevention,” said Lewis. “ACORN will continue to hold their feet to the fire and escalate our protests until they put their names on the dotted line and join the Obama program.”
In addition to protesting in the streets, ACORN has also already generated thousands of emails to the CEOs of the four companies and will be petitioning for the companies to join the Obama program on Twitter.
Note to media: ACORN has compiled stories from across the country of homeowners who have struggled to get a loan modification or other foreclosure prevention assistance from the “Home Wrecker 4”. To learn more about these stories or contact a homeowner in your market, please contact David Redlener at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-239-7323.
ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 450,000 member families organized into neighborhood chapters in 100 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be capitalized. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
ACORN’s website is http://www.acorn.org.