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DETROIT -- Jennifer Britt of Detroit's Rosedale Park is like thousands of homeowners pushed to foreclosure by economic disaster and personal loss. After the death of her husband and the loss of her job, Britt exhausted her life savings and paid Flagstar more than $45,000 to keep her home. Flagstar not only refused to modify the mortgage, it raised her monthly payments and then foreclosed.
Britt's supporters will distribute fliers reminding festival goers that Flagstar, a co-sponsor of River Days, is not the "community bank" it claims to be. Since 2009, it has been owned and controlled by MatlinPatterson of New York, a "Vulture Investor," as Forbes magazine describes it, known for "picking the bones of crumbling companies." Flagstar recently confessed to mortgage fraud and has not paid back the taxpayer bailout of $267 million it was gifted in 2009.
Britt is working again and can afford reasonable monthly payments, but Flagstar has sold the mortgage to Fannie Mae, with taxpayers footing the bill. Eviction is imminent.
Flagstar claims they are no longer responsible for the eviction now that Fannie Mae holds the mortgage. This is a blatant evasion of the bank's responsibility for the mortgage it initiated in 1999 and held through the sheriff's foreclosure auction. State and federal programs call for mortgage modifications, and Flagstar can take back the mortgage from Fannie Mae and modify the loan. There is no good reason that the Britt family should be evicted, leaving another vacant house in Detroit.
People Before Banks is an alliance of community supporters, housing advocates, faith-based activists 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 Friday to protest her unfair treatment by Flagstar Bank.
Here are more details of Friday's demonstration:
What: Protest and leafleting targeting Flagstar Bank, sponsor of the Flagstar Music Stage.
When: Friday, June 22, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Starting at Jefferson and Beaubien in downtown Detroit, march to River Days entrance.
Who: Neighbors, community advocates, UAW members and faith-based activists allied with People before Banks.