Fighting Big Banks at the Local Level


Not the Way Forward: Jumaane Williams from New York Communities for Change on Vimeo.

NY Communities for Change has an interesting campaign to get JP Morgan Chase to change their behavior on loan modifications. Rather than push at the federal level, where banks' cash and influence often stymie reformers, or at the micro-level, which works only one family at a time, NY Communities for Change has brought several New York cities and townships on board with the Not the Way Forward Campaign, where municipalities refuse to do business with JP Morgan Chase until it reforms its foreclosure process. The campaign started in February, when New York City Council Member closed his bank account at Chase (as seen in the video) in protest of Chase's refusal to work with homeowners on loan modifications despite receiving billions of dollars in government bailouts. Now it has spread to the Village of Hempstead and the Village of Freeport, who both closed their accounts with Chase. The Cities of Albany, Binghamton, Rochester, and Yonkers; along with Albany, Ulster, and Monroe Counties are all looking at closing their Chase accounts and refusing to bond with JP Morgan Chase. Scratch that - Albany County has now announced that they will no longer bond with JP Morgan Chase, and the Albany City Council has voted to recommend to their City Treasurer that they no longer do city business with Chase, which the treasurer has promised to abide by. The problem isn't abstract. Maribel Toure is an X-ray technician who got hit by a taxi on the way to work. She lost out on four months pay while she recovered, and because her husband just lost his job in the ongoing economic slump, they fell behind on their mortgage payments. Chase refused to give her family a straight answer on loan modification before they served her up with a foreclosure. Funny enough, they agreed to a loan modification after the Village of Hempstead, Toure's home town, dropped Chase's business.

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