San Francisco Retirement System to Debate Investments in Predatory Banks

The San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board plans to consider two motions regarding investments in banks engaged in illegal, predatory, or discriminatory lending at its next meeting.

What: SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on Predatory Bank Investments
When: 1:30pm on Wednesday, April 10 (arrive early to get a seat before meeting starts at 2:00pm)
Where: 30 Van Ness Avenue, 3rd floor, near Market Street, San Francisco

SFERS Commissioner Herb Meiberger introduced the motions with overwhelming support from current and retired city employees served by the retirement system.

Background:

IMG_2337_1Current and retired city employees, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters, and supporters from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign provided important testimony about the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America at meeting of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System Retirement Board on January 9, February 13, and March 13, 2013.

At each meeting, the group asked the Retirement Board to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to investigate the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of the banks, to request that the banks stop these practices, to sponsor shareholder resolutions if they don’t stop, and to divest from the banks’ stocks if the shareholder resolutions do not succeed. Some of the Commissioners responded favorably to the public comment testimony.

Since the last SFERS Retirement Board meeting, a number of organizations have declared their support of the motions under consideration at the April 10 meeting, including the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco (RECCSF), Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The San Francisco Employee Retirement Systems (SFERS) handles investments for pension funds for current and retired San Francisco city employees. SFERS has policies that include “Social Investment Procedures” adopted at the SFERS Retirement Board meeting of September 27, 1988, which requires the SFERS Retirement Board when making investments in stocks, mutual funds, and so on, to consider:

“Community Relations: the relationship of the corporation to the communities in which it operates shall be maintained as a good corporate citizen through observing proper environmental standards, supporting the local economic, social and cultural climate, conducting acquisitions and reorganizations to minimize adverse effects and not discriminate in making loans or writing insurance.” (emphasis added by Occupy the Auctions)

A record number of San Francisco City and County employees, as well as others residents of San Francisco and beyond, are facing mortgage loan defaults, foreclosures, and evictions (an estimated 12,000 foreclosures in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011). Many have already lost their homes.

Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America are the market leaders in foreclosures and related evictions here in San Francisco and statewide. These banks engaged in illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices by putting African-American and Latino borrowers into higher-cost, subprime loans than white borrowers. In fact, in July 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a United States Department of Justice lawsuit for its discriminatory mortgage lending practices affecting more than 30,000 borrowers, including those banking at the Bayview Wells Fargo branch.

Billions of dollars in mortgage lender settlements with government agencies and other parties have to date not managed to solve the mortgage lending crisis, making mortgage lenders and servicers a potential medium-term and long-term investment risk. Illegal, predatory, and discriminatory foreclosures harm all homeowners, erode the property tax base, and cost local governments, hurting the standard of living of retirees and all working people.

01Wells Fargo is #1 in San Francisco foreclosures. San Francisco’s Mayor and Board of Supervisors have unanimously requested a halt to foreclosures and related evictions, especially since San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s report showing that 84% of foreclosures have at least one legal violation and due to Wells’ $175 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice paid in response to allegations of racial discrimination in providing mortgage loans in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and other neighborhoods.

Wells Fargo’s “waterfall” model, along with similar policies from other lenders, ensures that the bank can squeeze the most money possible from homeowners struggling to make payments while finally discarding them like trash if the bank can’t make a profit on every single loan. Running a mortgage loan business means assuming risks, especially after receiving billions in bailout funds from the taxpayers, many of whom are Wells’ mortgage loan borrowers.

Wells Fargo is putting 32 families at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure and related evictions during this holiday season. Wells Fargo is foreclosing on and evicting veterans and disabled and senior homeowners and families with children, as well as targeting homeowners with life-threatening illnesses. Wells Fargo has engaged in predatory, fraudulent, and racist lending practices and has contributed to a rash of foreclosure deaths.

Links:

Agenda for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    Members of SFERS Retirement Board    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on March 13, 2013    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on January 9, 2013    San Francisco Business Times    KCBS (including audio segment)    Wells Pays $175 Million to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination in Providing Mortgage Loans    Occupy Our Homes Wells Fargo Bayview Branch Action    Occupy Wells Fargo Noe Branch    Occupy Wells Fargo HQ    Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures (Occupy Anniversary)

For this release and updates: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=8821

Freddie Mac to Evict Disabled Veteran, Wife, and Mentally Challenged Child in Saint Louis

Update as of September 12: Good news! After the television coverage and news coverage of Sally’s case, the judge delayed the eviction of the Scott family with the help of Sally’s attorney. Sally, her husband Bob, and supporters from MORE attended the proceedings. That gives us time to pressure Freddie Mac to rescind the eviction and allow negotiations for a fair deal loan modification so the Scott family can remain in their home.


**Press Advisory for Tuesday, September 11, 2012**

For Immediate Release

Contact:

* Sally Scott, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighter, +1 314-218-5733, ROSCOTT3@aol.com

* Stardust, Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign, +1 415-425-3936, press@occupytheauctions.org

* Zach Chasnoff, Organize Missouri, +1 314-780-3734, zach@organizemo.org

Freddie Mac to Evict Disabled Veteran, Wife, and Mentally Challenged Child in Saint Louis

Bank Bailouts Don’t Benefit Homeowners Who Want to Pay, But Need Loan Modifications

St Louis, Missouri – Pleas to stop the eviction of Sally Scott, her disabled veteran husband Bob, and their mentally challenged daughter Susie, have fallen on deaf ears at Freddie Mac.

“After my 84-year-old husband suffered a stroke, I was ashamed to admit that we missed some mortgage payments while closing down my husband’s business and covering skyrocketing medical costs,” said Sally Scott. “Now I know that the right course of action is to fight for my family and our home by demanding that Freddie Mac work with Select Portfolio Servicing to stop our eviction and offer us a fair deal loan modification.”

The Scotts originally obtained their loan from Southwest Bank, then it was transferred twice over the last 11 years, ending up serviced by Select Portfolio Servicing and owned by Freddie Mac.

The following Freddie Mac staff and attorneys have refused to negotiate on the case when approached by Sally Scott and her supporters:

* Donald H. Layton, CEO, +1 703-903-2000 (say “Donald Layton” to transfer call), Donald_Layton@freddiemac.com

* Brad German, Public Relations, +1 703-903-2437, Brad_German@freddiemac.com

* Patti Boerger, Media Relations, +1 703-903-2445, Patricia_Boerger@freddiemac.com

* Chad Wandler, Media Relations, +1 703-903-2446 or +1 571-236-2533 (cell), Chad_Wandler@FreddieMac.com

* Aaron Elking, Attorney at Martin, Leigh, Laws, & Fritzlen, in Kansas City, 314-862-5200 or 636-534-7600, ame@mllfpc.com

After their staff refused a loan modification approved by a HUD-certified counselor, Freddie Mac auctioned back to themselves the home of 65-year-old Sally Scott and her family in west St. Louis, Missouri.

Her 84-year-old husband Bob is a WWII and Korean War veteran who was disabled by a stroke five years ago. Sally, her disabled husband Bob, and her 26-year-old mentally handicapped “special child” Susie live in a constant state of fear, not knowing when the county sheriff will show up to evict them and throw all their belongings out onto the sidewalk. The next court hearing on their eviction is at 9:00am on September 12 at the St. Louis County Courthouse.

Hundreds of supporters have responded to the following action alert, calling and emailing Freddie Mac in support: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=3983

Organizations and Campaign

Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) believes that Missouri is positioned at a unique intersection of social, economic and environmental injustice. We believe that as corporate power continues unabated expansion and the gap between the rich and the poor widens, there has never been a better time for our low-income communities to come together and fight back. MORE seeks to be a powerful organization of low- and moderate-income people, building strength in our communities. We work in relationship with other organizations pushing our allies to engage in creative direct action with us to foster good policy changes. MORE seeks to be part of a movement that cuts across, class, age and race lines that is envisioning and building the world in which we would like to live. Web: http://www.organizemo.org

Occupy the Auctions/Evictions
is a campaign to halt for-profit and predatory evictions, foreclosures, and foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and beyond. Web: http://www.occupytheauctions.org and http://www.occupyevictions.org

Updates and Photos

For updates, photos, and for this release on the web: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=4466

San Francisco Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance Press Conference

Update: see press conference videos and photos below

Link: Text of Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance (proposed)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 4, 2012
Contact: Angela D’Anna, Assessor-Recorder’s Office 415-554-7434
Raquel Redondiez, Supervisor Avalos’ Office 415-554-7896

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
Supervisor John Avalos and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announce Ballot Initiative to Make Banks Pay Their Fair Share and Keep Homeowners in Their Homes

WHO: Supervisor John Avalos
Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting

WHAT: Announcing the Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance eliminating a transfer tax exemption given to banks and lenders, this ordinance aims to make banks and lenders pay their fair share of taxes and to help keep homeowners in their homes.

WHEN: Monday, June 4th, 2012, 12:00pm, noon

WHERE: City Hall, Polk Street Steps
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102



Videos of Press Conference


Photos of Press Conference

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