Chase execs confronted by angry housing activists

July 28, 2010 7:17:25 PM PDT
A tense confrontation erupted outside JP Morgan Chase Bank in Oakland when housing activists demanded to deliver a message to Chase executives. Emotions were still high from Friday when Chase unexpectantly cancelled a scheduled meeting to discuss ways to stem the foreclosure crisis.

"We're here and we're not moving until change is made," Pastor Mario Howell from Antioch Church Family said.

That was the message about two dozen protestors wanted to give to JP Morgan Chase on Wednesday.

Demonstrators from the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Organization or CCISCO converged on Chase's home ownership center in Oakland.

"We are not asking for a free hand out. All we're asking for is what's fair," CCISCO leader Jose Vega said.

Members of People Acting in Community Together and The California Reinvestment Coalition joined CCISCO to call on chase to renegotiate more mortgages by reducing the principle of the loan.

"That is the only way to ensure that loan modifications are affordable and sustainable," Gina Gage from PACT said.

"Principle reduction is one of the alternatives. We have many we can look at. Once we sit down at the table and look at individual cases," Eileen Leveckis from JP Morgan Chase said.

The latest figures from the Treasury Department show the bank has granted 54,000 permanent loan modifications -- that's 21 percent of all trial modifications offered by Chase.

The demonstrators called that unacceptable and began marching into the home ownership center. A guard initially stopped them, but eventually let them in.

The protestors said they would not leave until someone agreed to fax their letter demanding a meeting with chase CEO of mortgages.

The letter was eventually delivered.

"We have today agreed to receive in writing CCISCO's and Mr. Vega's recommendations so that we do not interfere with our ability to work with customers," Leveckis said.

"I think one of our strategies might be to even begin community and nationwide divestment of our resources in Chase bank," Pastor Alvin Bernestin from Bethlehem Baptist Church.

We'll let you know what Chase decides about rescheduling the meeting.


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