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The 99% Choir goes Christmas Caroling

11:24 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Mortgage crisis, Uncategorized by Cynthia Kouril

OK, this is so charming, so pithy, so spot and so non-violent that even BMAZ can’t hate on this direct action {watch he’ll find something to nitpick and make a liar out of me ;-)}.

The Backbone Campaign, longtime source of witty direct action protests, partnered up with the Other 98%, the Seattle Labor Chorus and the Washington Community Action Network to produce a Christmas caroling event at Bank of America and at Wells Fargo. Donned in their Santa hats and other gay apparel, including a Ghost of Christmas Present, the 99% Choir serenaded the staff and customers at branches in Seattle area.

Enjoy those holiday classics such as “We’ll Foreclose, We’ll Foreclose, We’ll Foreclose” and “Deck the Jails with Wall Street Bankers”. If you want to get involved in something similar where you live, check out their Credit Union Community Organizer kit or their Occupy Our Homes podcast.

More of this, please.

Also, anyone who knows about some similar direct action that took place over the holidays, or who is planning one and wants to get the words out, please let everyone know in the comments thread.

No One Forces the Banks to do HAMP by the Rules

12:09 pm in Economy, Financial Crisis by Cynthia Kouril

The LATimes has a story about a couple who applied for a HAMP modification, made all the payments required under the modification for the three month trial period. The bank, in violation of the HAMP rules, arbitrarily extended the trial period, and the couple kept making all their payments.

In hindsight it appears that the extension may have been to milk/bilk additional payments out of this couple while the bank lined up a buyer for the house.

On August 11 the bank sent them a letter saying they had been rejected for permanent modification, but that nothing would be done about foreclosing for 30 days. That was a lie:

The Kaharas received a letter from Wells dated Aug. 11 saying that their application for a permanent loan modification had been rejected. The letter said the Kaharas would have 30 days to discuss other options available to them.

"No foreclosure sale will be conducted and you will not lose your home during this 30-day period," the letter said.

But on Aug. 18 there was a knock at the door around 8 in the morning. Mike Kahara said a young man wearing a white polo shirt and dark slacks introduced himself as Sebastian Cruz of the investment firm Pacifica Cos.

Cruz said his firm had purchased the house and that he would offer the Kaharas $1,500 if they’d agree to vacate the property within two weeks.

He produced a document with Pacifica letterhead informing the Kaharas that their home "has changed ownership through the foreclosure process." It threatened legal action if the couple didn’t move out

One of the most glaring flaws with HAMP (I know, I know, there are so many) is that there is no oversight to make sure the banks are doing it competently and in good faith. Here, both competence and good faith are called into question.