The following is a guest article from Esther Allman, of Frankfort, IL, on behalf of The South Suburban MoveOn Council.
Intent on exposing Bank of America's fraudulent foreclosure practices, over 60 men, women, and children joined the South Suburban MoveOn Council as it protested at the Bank of America (BOA) in Matteson, IL last Wednesday. Armed with signs revealing the shoddy business dealings of the bank, people lined Cicero Avenue to enlighten passing motorists about the ongoing nature of the mortgage crisis.
Most held up placards, banners, and flags reflecting recent area foreclosure numbers in the thousands. Some displayed small tents and large cardboard boxes, symbolizing the housing fate of many. Passing drivers honked their horns in solidarity.
The group chanted: "They got bailed out; we got sold out," to emphasize that BOA received over $325 billion in taxpayer money when it failed, but it has done nothing to assist mortgage holders. Even more frustrating to the average person is that BOA pays no taxes, while most citizens have no choice.
Group members passed out informational flyers which reveal BOA's system of "robo-signing," which let it falsify foreclosure paperwork. The practice is widely known, but so far the special committee "Residential Mortgage Backed Securities Working Group" led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has yet to indict anyone.
"When people rob banks, they go to jail; when banks rob people, they get bailed out, their CEO's get paid millions, and no one does any hard time for ripping off the U.S. and crashing the economy," said Ron Kurowski, a spokesman for the MoveOn group.
"Perception creates reality," Kurowski went on to say. "People tend to feel they did something wrong to wind up this way, when in fact, the banking industry has stacked the deck against them."
Central to this issue is Illinois House Bill 5665, sponsored by State Rep. Constance Howard (D-Chicago), which has just passed through the House and is currently in the Senate. This bill would give homeowners ways to avoid illegal foreclosures.
Speaking on behalf of the bill, NAACP Far South Suburban president David Lowery said, "HB5665 is not a partisan bill; it is in everyone's interest to get it passed without gutting it with restricting amendments."
Hoarse from chanting this message for two hours, the protesters packed up their signs, flags, and "eviction boxes" and left the premises at dusk.
Image: Nancy Eichelberger