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"Occupy" group takes aim at Chase bank, foreclosures

A group of anti-foreclosure activists says Chase bank continues to wrongly foreclose on people’s homes.

And as part of the “Occupy our Homes” movement, they plan to fight for eight Metro Detroit homeowners they say are victims.

Chase bank and other mortgage lenders signed a consent agreement with the federal government in the wake of the national foreclosure crisis.

Steve Babson, who heads the activist group People Before Banks, says Chase agreed to certain terms.

“And that is to eliminate the fraud in the foreclosure process, and to modify people’s mortgages to keep them in their homes,” Babson said. “And they’re not doing that.”

So Babson says citizens must now become the “regulators.”

The group says they want Chase to work with the homeowners—but they’ll physically defend the home from foreclosure if necessary.

Activists, including members of UAW Local 600, rallied in front of 81-year-old Alma Counts’ Detroit home Thursday.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada promised Counts they would guard the house.

 “We’re gonna stand here, and we’re not gonna allow it [eviction] to happen,” Estrada said.

“This woman deserves to be in her house. She worked her whole life. She’s already had a modification that Chase bank is trying to change right now. And so those workers out there and the community are gonna stand by here.”    

They’re also taking up the case of seven other families across Metro Detroit.

All this precedes a week of planned protests against banks nationwide. “Occupy our Homes” activists say they want banks to stop evicting homeowners until fraud and errors have been rooted out of the foreclosure process.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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