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What: Picket at Flagstar Bank's Dearborn Heights branch
When: Saturday, June 16, 11 a.m. - Noon
Where: 26545 Ford Rd. (Half mile east of Inkster Road), Dearborn Heights, Mich.
Who: Neighbors, community advocates, UAW members, and faith-based activists allied with People Before Banks.
DETROIT -- Since her husband died in 2006, Jennifer Britt has paid more than $40,000 to Flagstar Bank to save her home at 15701 Warwick St., in Detroit's Rosedale Park. She lost her job in 2008 but continued paying rising monthly payments that took her entire savings. Flagstar foreclosed in 2010 and Fannie Mae took over the mortgage at taxpayer expense. Eviction is imminent, but Britt now has a job and can make reasonable mortgage payments if Flagstar and Fannie Mae agree to work with her.
Flagstar claims to be a "community" bank and a Michigan company, but it is actually owned by MatlinPatterson Global Advisors, a New York equity firm that Forbes Magazine recently described as a leading "Vulture Investor," known for "picking the bones of crumbling companies." The bank was assessed $133 million in fines by the federal government this year for fraudulent loan practices stretching back over a decade. Flagstar has yet to pay taxpayers back for the $267 million bailout it took in 2009.
Flagstar claims it is no longer responsible for the eviction now that Fannie Mae holds the mortgage, but this is a blatant evasion of the bank's responsibility. Flagstar initiated the mortgage in 1999 and held it thru the sheriff's foreclosure auction. Instead of modifying the loan to help Britt stay in her home after the death of her husband, it nearly doubled her monthly payments.
State and federal programs call for mortgage modifications to keep people in their homes. Flagstar can take back the mortgage from Fannie Mae and modify the loan. There is no good reason why Britt and her family should be evicted, leaving another vacant house in Detroit.
People Before Banks is an alliance of faith-based activists, community supporters, housing advocates, and unions, including the UAW, that calls for a moratorium on foreclosures. We have successfully mobilized our supporters over the last year to stop foreclosure evictions. We will join the Britt family on Saturday to protest her unfair treatment by Flagstar Bank.