In response to the $8.5 billion settlement between 10 big banks and the OCC to replace the Independent Foreclosure Review, The New Bottom Line, a leading homeowner and community organizing coalition is calling for restitution and principal reduction to go directly into communities of color and low income communities that were targeted and devastated by big bank abuses for years.
"The Independent Foreclosure Review process was broken, and the settlement announced today by the OCC does not provide the sort of relief that homeowners could have received if the reviews had been done right. Despite this, we are glad to see that some degree of principal reduction and restitution to homeowners will happen and happen more quickly than under the current process. Serious questions remain about how borrowers will be identified and fairly treated. And similar to the $26 billion Attorneys General settlement finalized last year, we are only seeing a tiny drop in the bucket of what's really needed to compensate homeowners and strengthen our economy. We continue to call for a full investigation into big bank wrongdoing that led to our ongoing mortgage woes," said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for Just Society an organizational member of The New Bottom Line.
"Settlement funds must flow directly into communities of color and low-income communities. For too long, the banks targeted these communities with abusive tactics that stripped wealth, unfairly and illegally foreclosed homes and devastated neighborhoods," said Liz Ryan Murray, policy director of National People's Action, an organizational member of The New Bottom Line. "The enforcement of this settlement must make sure principal reduction moves into these communities and the banks must be required to report on where and to who the settlement assistance is going. There will be no true economic recovery for our country until all of our communities, including those most impacted by the crisis, are rebuilt."