In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Action: Protesters ‘Storm’ Banking CEOs Homes!

Posted by smeddum on February 11, 2009


Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:53:07 PM PST

Lets take a trip to a place in America known as “the Gold Coast”.  A fairy tale of a place portrayed numerous times in popular culture as a wealthy bastion of conformity, immorality, or anomie, most notably in The Stepford Wives.  title=

Monday, Feb. 9, a group of 350 to 400 at-risk homeowners, organized by the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America , staged a series of protests outside the mansions of wealthy bankers in a moneyed Connecticut neighborhood.

More details of the people powered movement below the fold.

The Stamford Times reports:

Stamford and Greenwich became the stomping grounds of a grassroots campaign against corporate greed Sunday as part of a three day homeowners’ workshop sponsored by the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. Between 350 and 400 people, most of them members, staff or volunteers for the Boston-based nonprofit organization, converged outside the Greenwich home of William Frey, manager of Greenwich Financial Services, at around 1 p.m. 
[….]Called the ‘Predators Tour’ these actions were the start of NACA’s ‘accountability campaign,’ an aggressive, confrontational protest aimed at several top executives of companies that refuse to allow NACA to renegotiate the terms of loans on behalf of members, according to NACA CEO Bruce Marks

 title= title=Sporting bright yellow shirts that read, ‘Stop Loan Sharks,’ protesters demanded more accountability from the CEOs of the financial institutions responsible for the millions of unaffordable mortgages in the state and across America

From theNACA’sEconomic Justice webpage:

Leading attacks on predatory lending 
NACA has been in the forefront of attacking predatory lending. The lack of affordable credit to working people creates opportunities for predatory lenders to move in with their high-priced abusive loans. A priority in all of NACA’s campaigns has therefore been to expand the reach of affordable lending. Indeed, NACA’s predatory lending campaigns have all resulted in expanding access to affordable credit to working people and low- and moderate-income communities. In 1991 NACA (previously UNAC) was the first organization to expose the issues of predatory lending.

NACA’s history of aggressive, confrontational advocacy is essential to understanding its current success and to answer the question, “How is NACA able to provide a program that sounds too good to be true?” NACA was established in 1988 as a non-profit community advocacy and homeownership organization. Since then, NACA has developed a tremendous track record of accomplishments, documented in over seven hundred press clips.

NACA’s victories against powerful institutions and people 
NACA’s victories have been against some of the country’s largest and most powerful financial institutions. NACA’s aggressive confrontation advocacy has yielded remarkable successes with tremendous benefits for homeowners and communities. NACA’s victory against Fleet was the most publicized. After a four-and-a-half-year war, Fleet Bank surrendered, committing $8.5 billion of additional lending to low- and moderate-income people and paying hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements to people and communities whom they had victimized. It also resulted in the destruction and ruin of Fleet’s predatory lending subsidiary – Fleet Finance.

NACA has never stopped and the victories have been numerous. NACA was the worst nightmare for a number of huge institutions and powerful individuals: NACA defeated First Union and brought its CEO Eddie Crutchfield (i.e. Fast Eddie) to his knees; NACA defeated Ford Motor Company and as a result they divested the Associates and their four billion dollar a year income; NACA defeated The Associates (the country’s largest finance company) and forced them to dramatically change their lending practices; NACA defeated Senator Phil Gramm in his efforts to ruin NACA and its CEO Bruce Marks; and NACA has had victories against Bank of Boston, Barnett, Riggs Bank and Signet. In addition, NACA was instrumental in getting anti-predatory legislation passed in Congress – the Homeowners Equity Protection Act (“HOEPA”) and one of the strongest state anti-predatory legislation in Georgia.

The Stamford Times continues:

…protesters had already targeted the home of John Mack, CEO of Morgan Stanley, at 6 Club Road, Rye, N.Y. earlier in the day.

At Frey’s house, 10 Glenville Road, Greenwich, they chanted slogans such as “Fix our loans, save our homes.” They placed furniture on the lawn to symbolize the dislocation felt by people who have had their homes foreclosed upon and been evicted, their belongings tossed outside by state marshals.

“We did it to make them feel what it must be like for someone to have their home foreclosed upon,” NACA mortgage counselor Carmen Orta said.

Hundreds of demonstrators wore bright yellow shirts and signs that read, “Fix our loans, save our homes.”

Bruce Marks, chief executive officer of the Boston-based group, said the organization is setting up a “financial predators registry” of uncooperative executives

Marks said:

No one has ever gone in such huge numbers to these guys’ homes, If they don’t do the right thing, we’ll be back. We are the junkyard dogs. Once we grab on, we will not let go….The greed they are showing is just beyond the pale, to sue lenders who are trying to do the right thing is outrageous

Police in Connecticut’s wealthy suburbs of New York, home to many of Wall Street’s wealthiest executives and financial managers, said they’ll warn future protesters about laws that prohibit causing a disturbance or hindering the flow of traffic.

They will be subject to arrest if they violate any laws,” said Greenwich Police Lt. Daniel Allen.

None of the protestors were arrested.  Reported by CNN, one of the officers on the scene stopping traffic for the protest told the man in charge of the protest

I think what you’re doing is great, my sister loss her home over the winter, and if you’re coming back just let the dept. know and we’ll make sure everything is safe and secure

From the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America:

Expanding the fight 
As our Membership continues to build, NACA’s power and ability to demand more economic justice only increases. As a NACA Member or a NACA activist, you can become part of the fight. We aim to not only fight predatory lenders, but to hold our elected leaders responsible to working people’s needs. As NACA expands with hundreds of thousands of members nationwide, NACA will have a major impact on the nation’s lending and economic justice issues.

YES! You Can Volunteer here.

And here is an embed video from CNNof the protest.  Hopefully this embed will work.

<script></script><noscript>Embedded video from CNN Video</noscript>

One more thing before I go.  That stone house they show the protesters marching up to in the video ended up being only the servant quarters. One of Frey’s neighbors let the protesters know they were at the wrong residence and they needed to head to the humongous house on the hill.

Finally, I would like to ask anyone interested to join in, become the rabble that the CEO’s fear so much.

Update 1: Thank you so much for getting me to the rec list for the first time.  As I said in the comments I should’ve been putting back brakes on my car but this story needs to be heard.

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