“Big banks like Wells Fargo and USBank need to pay their fair share to contribute to a future of shared prosperity for all and take positive steps to fix the foreclosure crisis,” said the Rev. Grant Stevensen, the Pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and President of ISAIAH. ”The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has spent millions lobbying for job-killing cuts to critical services while opposing paying their fair share.”
Sheronda Orridge was one of three homeowners facing foreclosure who spoke at the rally. Orridge described her long struggle to reach an agreement with Wells Fargo to redo an abusive loan. “I’ve done everything right and everything they asked me to,” Orridge said. “We need to hold the banks accountable.”
Orridge has owned her home in St. Paul since 1997 and has stayed current on her mortgage—even when her small business struggled in the economic downturn and even after her payment increased. After she refinanced six years ago she noticed that despite making her payment every month, her loan balance kept going up. She found out that she had a type of loan called a “negative amortization” that was considered so abusive that the Minnesota Legislature has since banned them. She has been trying unsuccessfully since 2009 to get Wells Fargo to redo her loan.
Earlier in the day activists passed out flyers to Chamber of Commerce meeting attendees asking them to raise Orridge’s case with Wells Fargo executive John Campbell.
Other speakers at the rally, Sunday Alabi, chairperson of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change; an OccupyMN activist; and Craig Dahlstrom, a Minnesota retiree who talked about the devastating impact of budget cuts on seniors, schools and communities.
“Politicians think that retired Minnesotans won’t notice when they try cutting our grandkids’ schools. They’re wrong. We’re going to tell these politicians that we won’t let them cut away our grandkids’ future while their corporate donors get away without paying their fair share.”
Inside the Crowne Plaza, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce meeting featured US Bank CEO Richard Davis, called “Wall Street’s golden boy” in the invitation, and Wells Fargo Executive Jon Campbell, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce chair, representing two of the biggest institutions foreclosing on Minnesota homeowners. The Chamber of Commerce meeting’s lead sponsor was Flint Hills Resources, owned by the Koch brothers—who finance anti-worker politicians and lobby heavily for job-killing budget cuts.
The rally was sponsored by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Minnesota Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, SEIU, and ISAIAH, and joined by OccupyMN activists.
In October, hundreds of Minnesotans visited US Bank and Wells Fargo, delivered letters, and held marches in an attempt to secure meetings with the top executives of both banks to halt their foreclosure spree and to call for the support for good jobs.
For more information
Visit the Minnesotans for a Fair economy website.