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05/2/2014 | Home Defenders League

Wells Fargo: Foreclosed

Earlier this week was the culmination of the “Foreclose on Wells Fargo” days of action. By the time the sun set, Home Defenders, Wells Fargo workers, affordable housing activists, people fighting private prisons (which Wells invests in heavily), and our allies had carried out over two dozen actions against the bank. Additionally over 6,000 people signed a petition on the Home Defenders League website directed at CEO John Stumpf demanding that Wells end foreclosures, work to keep families in their homes, provide reasonable load modifications that include principal reduction, and stop blocking communities like Richmond, CA from enacting their own programs to combat the foreclosure crisis.

New Jersey Communities United member and foreclosure fighter Yolanda Andrews took those petitions with her to San Antonio to deliver personally to CEO Stumpf. That was part of the flagship event for the Days of Action, crashing the Wells Fargo Annual Shareholders Meeting in San Antonio, Texas bright and early the morning of Tuesday, April 29th. Actually, it was a combo of inside testimony directly to CEO Stumpf and his senior staff and an outside rally a Wells Fargo branch about three miles away from the Hyatt resort the bank had locked down for the meeting.

Participants included Roxanna Zamora from Whittier, California who is, as reported by Los Angeles Times

“a single mother raising two teenagers, said she acquiesced to several major requests from the bank to no avail as she battled for years to obtain easier loan terms after a series of personal setbacks.

Zamora, who is fighting an aggressive cancer, said she stayed on her estranged husband's insurance policy until Wells Fargo insisted she divorce him in order to be considered for a loan modification. 

She said she spent $4,500 to get a divorce decree while losing the insurance coverage. Later on, she said, she filed for bankruptcy protection at a cost of $3,500 after a bank executive told her that it was a necessary step to get her loan terms eased.

“I did all this and still they deny me," she said in a phone interview Monday from Texas. The foreclosure auction for her home is scheduled for May 20.”

Fascia Edwards of Chicago spoke inside the meeting, as reported by the San Francisco Business Journal,

“Inside the meeting, Edwards asked Stumpf to consider having a special office to handle loan modifications from disabled borrowers. She said she suffers from a herniated disc stemming from a case of workplace violence.”

Those and several other people were supported by the rally at the Wells Fargo branch, which included this video from Lauren Rodriguez, the Deputy Organizing Director for the Texas Organizing Project. 

The two days of activities also featured (you can find great pictures on the HDL Facebook page here): 


California Pickets and protests at two separate Wells Fargo branches in Sacramento led by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, which included Wells as part of their Day of Action at the state Capitol. In Whittier, the same city in which Roxanna Zamora lives, theVellanoweths delivered their own Wells Fargo petition to the branch in that city. 

GeorgiaOccupy Our Homes Atlanta joined forces with the Moral Monday Georgia movement to take on Wells Fargo who has carried out the most foreclosures in the state.

After a rally downtown, the group marched to a local Wells Fargo branch, where Reverend A. Motley of historic Lindsey Street Baptist Church led the group in calling on the bank to stop profiting off the backs of communities of color.

State Senator Vincent Fort, legendary civil rights activist Fred Taylor, faith leaders, and students also spoke before the group delivered thousands of petitions to the branch. 

Illinois Chicago activists delivered a set of petitions to the Wells Fargo main branch in that city in support of Fascia Edwards who also traveled to San Antonio to confront John Stumpf and the senior leadership of Wells.

Massachusetts A Monday action in Springfield, MA at the home of Diane and Ray Perkins, which was scheduled to be auctioned off by Wells Fargo on Tuesday morning. Members of Springfield No One Leaves, neighbors, and community members mobilized in front of the family’s home to stop the sale, causing Wells Fargo to postpone the foreclosure until May 12! They were joined by Doris Hair, Hildegard Spielmann-Dergamini, and Raphaela Vega, three other homeowners facing imminent foreclosure by Wells Fargo. Following the rally at the Perkins’ home, the group marched to a local Wells Fargo branch and successfully delivered the petitions to the bank’s representatives.

MinnesotaNeighborhoods Organizing for Change and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy delivered your petition signatures to the regional Wells Fargo headquarters in Minneapolis. 

New Jersey Home defenders joined forces with bank workers to take action in two cities. In Trenton, members of CWA Local 1037 passed out leaflets and delivered a petition asking Wells Fargo to put an end to excessive sales goals that force employees to push products on customers even when it’s not in their best interest.

In Irvington, members of New Jersey Communities United marched to two different Wells Fargo branches to stop Wells Fargo’s evil stage coach from running away with community wealth.

They were joined by Mayor Wayne Smith who spoke of Wells Fargo’s record profits, andJonelle Rodriguez - a former Wells Fargo employee who shared her experience as a bank worker trying to keep up with the pressure of meeting excessive sales goals.

Rhode IslandFighting Against Natural Gas Pipelines (FANG), joined in the fun because of Wells’ strong investments in the dirty energy sector. They pulled a version of the Wells Fargo stagecoachloaded with your petition signatures and a tray of delicious cupcakes to the Wells Fargo branch in Providence. 

Around the USA Actions also took place in Inverness, FL; St. Louis, MO; Orlando, FL; Bronx, NYC; and Seattle, WA.

Some news articles about the Days of Action:

East Bay Express (Berkeley, CA): http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2014/04/29/consumer-advocates-protest-wells-fargos-annual-shareholders-meeting-for-third-year-running

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-wells-fargo-protests-20140429,0,3612675.story#axzz30IPlIlCi

San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Wells-Fargo-blasted-for-predatory-lending-5440048.php

San Francisco Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2014/04/wells-fargo-john-stumpf-protesters-annual-meeting.html.