They picked on the wrong guy.
Bobby Hull wasn’t going to go easily.
This tough ex-Marine was determined to keep his family home. Because of medical problems he was unable to work and fell behind in his mortgage payments. He didn’t want to cheat Bank of America out of the money he borrowed from them for the mortgage, but he wanted to renegotiate the terms of the mortgage so he could afford the payments. The bank said, “No,” and they said they were going to foreclose.
Occupy Minnesota got involved last summer when Bobby Hull was first threatened with eviction.
There were rallies and demonstrations. At one point about 75 demonstrators faced off against the sheriff’s deputies that had come to evict him. The Occupados won and the sheriffs backed down. Since then the bank has decided to renegotiate the mortgage.
It’s possible that the $25 billion settlement between the State’s attorney generals and five big banks (including Bank of America) that was finally reached in mid-February had some effect on the bank’s willingness to renegotiate. According to Forbes Magazine: “The settlement encourages lenders to negotiate lower rates with existing borrowers and even provide the politically controversial step of lowering principal amounts owed in an effort to keep houses out of foreclosure.”
Certainly the mandate to renegotiate and the pool of money to reduce principal and lower interest rates made it easier for Bobby Hull to keep his home, and the banks now want to demonstrate good faith in their dealings with distressed home mortgages because they are still liable for criminal lawsuits for such illegal practices as redlining, exorbitant fees and robo-signing.
It was good that the states forced the banks into this settlement, but most observers believe the states would never have acted if it hadn’t been for the Occupy movement across the country demanding that the banks begin renegotiating to keep people in their homes. All across the country people were shouting: “Banks get bailed out, we get sold out.” Eventually the message seems to have gotten through.
Bobby Hull was relieved that he was able to save his home, but he told Huffington Post, “I didn’t just do this to save my home, I’m doing this to fix the system. If they can modify this to help me, they can modify it for everyone else.”
Late breaking news: On Feb. 28 Occupy Homes MN organizer Ben Egerman was arrested without warning while protesting on the sidewalk outside of a US Bank branch in North Minneapolis while asking the bank to negotiate with homeowner Monique White, who is facing eviction. The arrest took place shortly after White’s son read a statement asking the bank to work with his mother to find a solution to keep their family in their home.
The arresting officer claims Egerman was violating trespass orders by entering USBank property, but video clearly shows him standing on the sidewalk at the time of the arrest. Egerman plans to fight the charges in court and is considering a lawsuit in response to his wrongful arrest.
Last month Occupy Minneapolis protester Melissa Hill was paid $15,000 by Hennepin County as part of a lawsuit settlement after her wrongful trespass arrest at Government Center Plaza.