Housing Groups Urge President to Act Now on Wall Street Accountability and Grant Large-Scale Mortgage Principal Reduction for Underwater Homeowners
(Washington, D.C.) The Campaign for a Fair Settlement (CFS) and The New Bottom Line (NBL) today launched an Internet advertising campaign to pressure President Obama to hold Wall Street accountable for the foreclosure crisis and require big banks to pay back underwater homeowners through large-scale principal reduction.
The campaign includes $20,000 in Google and Facebook ads in six swing states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The ads drive viewers to post a message on the Facebook pages of state OFA offices that says: “President Obama: I am a voter. I want Wall Street criminals held accountable and I want the big banks to pay us back. Do what’s right for Americans!”
“It was the manipulative, fraudulent and just plain criminal activities of the banks that directly created the trillions in negative equity that keep our economy from fully bouncing back. To date, no one has gone to jail for their crimes. Millions of homeowners, family-run businesses, investors and many more want to see justice served,” said Nish Suvarnakar, campaign manager for Campaign for a Fair Settlement.
“Almost 16 million homeowners -- almost one-third of all borrowers -- owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. That’s 16 million votes that President Obama could win by showing leadership on the housing crisis. It’s time for the President to demonstrate his commitment to all of us and push Wall Street to reset mortgages to fair market value to stabilize the housing market and to jumpstart our economy,” said Tracy Van Slyke, co-director of The New Bottom Line.
A recent poll conducted for CFS by PPP in five swing states show that independent voters overwhelmingly want the President to take more aggressive action to hold banks accountable for financial crimes. Across all states polled, only one in three independent voters approve of President Obama's handing of the housing and mortgage crisis. Nearly six in ten agreed that Obama “has not done enough to hold the banks accountable for their role in the housing collapse.”
Four months ago, President Obama announced the formation of the Mortgage Fraud Task Force, but there has been little to no significant progress to date. Bank accountability groups such as Campaign for a Fair Settlement and New Bottom Line have kept the heat on the Administration through protests and direct actions over the past several weeks.
They want the President to order an aggressive investigation into Wall Street’s mortgage fraud, prosecute bankers’ criminal activity, and require the banks to write down at least $300 billion in mortgage principal for underwater homeowners.
On May 20, 1,000 families facing foreclosure and activists with National People’s Action, a member of NBL, visited Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s home to demand that he stop undermining Wall Street accountability. The next day, the 1,000-person group flooded the Federal Housing Finance Administration and delivered an oversized pink slip to fire Acting Director Ed DeMarco. DeMarco has obstructed principal reduction on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages, which represent 40 percent of underwater mortgages. On May 9, dozens of protesters with Campaign for a Fair Settlement stood outside President Obama’s fundraiser at George Clooney’s mansion to urge the President to do more to help underwater homeowners.
The Campaign for a Fair Settlement (CFS) is a coalition of progressive organizations nationally and in states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis working to hold banks accountable. CFS seeks to create a more just U.S. economy by building public support for a fair settlement between Wall Street banks, the Attorneys General, and the federal government on the issues of mortgage origination and securitization during the housing bubble. A fair settlement involves large-scale principal reduction for millions of U.S. homeowners.
The New Bottom Line (NBL) is a growing movement fueled by a coalition of community organizations, congregations, and individuals working together to challenge established big bank interests on behalf of struggling and middle-class communities. Together, we are working to restructure Wall Street to help American families build wealth, close the country’s growing income gap and advance a vision for how our economy can better serve the many rather than the few. Coalition members include PICO National Network, National People’s Action (NPA), Alliance for a Just Society, the Right the City Alliance, and dozens of state and local organizations from around the country. www.newbottomline.com