As news breaks of another settlement between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a major U.S. bank, Citigroup, homeowners throughout the country are asking whether promised relief will arrive.
Many homeowners are concerned and skeptical this morning. More than six months after the DOJ settled with JPMorgan Chase, help has yet to come. Last week, struggling homeowners in 14 cities delivered a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for his personal intervention on behalf of consumers.
"I never thought in a million years that I would be in this position of fighting Citibank to save my home of 18 years,” said Houston, Texas homeowner Robin Crawford. “We all used our taxpayer dollars to bailout the very same banks not willing to help stop foreclosures. Wall Street bankers should be criminally charged for taking the very homes that we worked so hard to keep."
The $7 billion Citigroup settlement includes a $4 billion civic penalty and $2.5 billion in debt relief to homeowners.
“During the past year since the $13 million JPMorgan Chase settlement was announced, struggling homeowners and community advocates representing them have been waiting for the help that was promised,” the letter to Holder states. “It has yet to arrive and the bank has not announced any new relief programs. Nor have their been any new modifications. Instead, Chase and their competitors are often transferring servicing rights to newer mortgage companies not covered by recent or future settlements.
Struggling or “underwater” homeowners throughout the country facing foreclosure or eviction are taking action through the national organization Home Defenders League and its partners. Many have chosen to tell their stories publicly, and a website has been set up to share these powerful testimonies. The site can be found at this link:http://100storiesofwhatwallstreetbroke.tumblr.com/
If you'd like to set up an interview or need additional information, please contact Kevin Whelan, National Campaign Director for the Home Defenders League at(612) 414-9731 or firstname.lastname@example.org.