Earlier today, Los Angeles Community leaders gathered in front of the headquarters of OneWest Bank to share new information about the amount of corporate subsidy OneWest has received from the FDIC.
Community leaders and affected homeowners called on bank regulators to hold public hearings about the proposed merger of OneWest and CIT Group, and urged the bank leadership to implement a moratorium on foreclosing on widowed homeowners whose deceased spouses had reverse mortgages.
Kevin Stein, associate director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, comments: “Now we know why the bank CEOs refused to tell us how much they’ve received from the FDIC. This is an embarrassing amount of subsidy for the FDIC to give to the billionaire owners of this bank, especially when the bank leadership refuses to create a strong community reinvestment plan. Given this new information, the Federal Reserve must hold public hearings in Los Angeles. The community deserves an opportunity to give input on the outsized corporate subsidies, the ongoing enrichment of billionaire investors, and the lack of public benefit with this proposed merger.”
Sandy Jolley, a reverse mortgage consumer advocate who has worked with senior homeowners and their families who have been harmed by reverse mortgages, including some whose mortgages were serviced by Financial Freedom, a OneWest subsidiary. She spoke at the conference today, explaining: “It’s been a busy holiday season for OneWest Bank, with at least three different cases of the bank moving to foreclose on seniors and widows, including a 103-year-old. Today, we’re calling on the bank CEOs to stop playing Grinch and to implement a moratorium on foreclosing on widowed homeowners.”
Paulina Gonzalez, executive director at the California Reinvestment Coalition commented: “An estimated 35,000 California families have been hurt by OneWest foreclosing on them during the past six years. As these middle class and working class families lose their homes, the FDIC has been writing checks to the billionaire investors who own OneWest. Is this really how it’s supposed to work?”
“The last thing California needs is yet another too-big-to-fail bank for the one percent, but that’s exactly what we’re going to get if this merger goes through as planned. Our diverse state deserves better” said Orson Aguilar, executive director of the Greenlining Institute.
Additional Background: Representatives from the following organizations attended the press conference and rally:
- The California Reinvestment Coalition,
- Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC),
- East LA Community Corporation (ELACC),
- Montebello Housing Development Corporation,
- Greenlining Institute,
- Affordable Housing Services,
- Occupy Our Homes,
- Occupy Fights Foreclosure, and
- The Multi-Cultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change
A CIT Group/OneWest Proposed Merger Resource Page on the California Reinvestment Coalition website includes additional information about the proposed merger and why over fifty organizations are currently opposing the merger, urging the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to hold hearings, and calling on the bank to stop foreclosing on widowed homeowners.