Some stories just write themselves, and this is one I wish hadn’t made my job easier.
The headline tells the tale. The wrinkle is that the homeowner’s son is an Occupy Homes Minnesota activist. From the press release:
Colleen McKee Espinosa, a single mother of three — including Nick Espinosa, a volunteer organizer who has helped other homeowners fight foreclosure — hoped that negotiations with officials at Citibank would allow her to catch up on her mortgage and keep her home. But Citibank still has the home scheduled to be auctioned off at a sheriff sale at 11am on Wednesday, June 13th.
McKee Espinosa, a registered nurse, has owned her home for 16 years. Last year, she attempted to pay her Citibank mortgage to catch up on two past-due payments on the indicated due date. The bank told her the home had already been sent into foreclosure.
“I’ve come up with the money I owe them but they refuse to take it,” McKee Espinosa said.
After the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the blog Crooks and Liars, and others covered the story, Citibank officials contacted the family, assured them they were doing everything they could to resolve the case, and assigned them a contact in the “executive response unit.” Despite this, the bank is moving to auction the home at a sheriff’s sale this Wednesday at the Hennepin County Government Center, after which time the bank would have no legal obligation to work with the family.
They’re not going easily, though I don’t know what their recourses are:
“My mother has struggled her whole life to keep our family afloat and give my siblings and I a better life than she had,” said Nick Espinosa, “I’ve dedicated the last 8 months of my life to helping families fight against unjust foreclosures and the greedy banks that would rather leave homes vacant than work to keep families in their communities even after being bailed out with our tax dollars. CitiBank won’t be stealing the home I grew up in from my mom–it stops here.”
The family has seen a huge outpouring of support from the community since the campaign started. McKee Espinosa’s union of 20,000 nurses statewide, The Minnesota Nurses Association, St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association, and hundreds of neighbors have called for Citibank to negotiate with the family and signed an online petition asking Citibank to work out an agreement with the family. Most neighbors on the block have sent letters to Citibank and display yard signs in support of the family.
“I have decided that I’m not leaving my home until we get a good faith negotiation. I’m fighting to send the message to other people not to give up, because if you’re isolated you can’t fight these people,” said McKee Espinosa. “I’d tell the banks they better watch out because people are catching on to their game and a lot of people are going to fight back now.”
As near as I can gather, the foreclosures are happening because mortgage banks benefit more from foreclosures than from homeowner-friendly deals that keep the mortgage checks coming in. Bad news for the investors in the mortgage-backed securities, but good for the banks.
Rats on a sinking ship. The banks — who created these mortgages en masse in order to fill the feeding maw of the Giant Pool of Money looking to invest in the then-hot securities — are basically saying “Tough to be you” to the same investors they fed. The banks get some money, while the securities approach zero in value.
Money. Brings “eye of a needle” to mind.
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