North Minneapolis Church Leaders Take On Big Banks

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Church leaders in north Minneapolis are telling banks to back off on foreclosures.

The group is part of the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition. They’ve had little success in getting banks to reverse foreclosures and reinstate affordable mortgages.

“We are asking all banks for the next several months to work with the families of NCRC,” said Bishop Richard Howell, of the Shiloh Temple. “We’re also asking for a 90-day variance for all families that contact you.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

At Tuesday’s news conference, dozens of church leaders from across the Twin Cities and several families who are in the process of foreclosure shared their stories. Susan McRoy is one of them.

McRoy lost her job she had for 15 years in October of 2010. She said immediately after she lost her job she contacted her mortgage company.

“I was put on a loan modification program that was supposed last a year. It lasted until January,” said McRoy.

Last April, the bank put her home on foreclosure, so she’s now turning to NCRC for help.

“I don’t want a handout from a bank. I just want to be able to stay in my home,” said McRoy, with tears in her eyes. “I’m raising my children and grandchildren in this home. It’s all that we really have left. I just want to get in to a fixed loan to make that possible.”

Reverend Jerry McAfee with the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in north Minneapolis said he respects what Occupy Minnesota is doing and is considering joining their cause.

“I’m for anybody who’s willing to protest some of the foolishness that’s going on in this country,” said McAfee.

McAfee says he’s been talking with Occupy MN protest organizers to see what common interest and goals they share.

“From perspective many of our people, African-American in particular, have lost a sense of protest,” said McAfee. “We need to revive that. We get nothing in this country if we don’t protest.”

According to Minnesota Housing, there were 25,673 foreclosures in 2010. NCRC was able to help between 15 and 20 families improve their foreclosure situation. One of the people helped was Cathy Spann.

In last few years her world fell apart. Spann’s husband died after a heart attack, she lost her job, her oldest son was in and out of the hospital, her mother got sick and then in May the north Minneapolis tornado damaged her home.

“I had so many mishaps and adversities I couldn’t handle anymore,” said Spann.

McAfee told Spann to contact NCRC and they were able to get JP Morgan Chase to reverse her sheriff’s sale and reinstate an affordable mortgage.

“Everything they did they were able to reverse and my mortgage today is less than when I bought the home in 1997, at 2 percent interest rate,” said Spann.

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