LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Protesters with the “Occupy L.A.” movement rallied on Friday at a bank in downtown Los Angeles to call for banks to temporarily halt all foreclosure proceedings nationwide.
Activists held signs and gathered along the steps of the Wells Fargo bank branch on West Olympic Boulevard against the state attorney general’s recent decision to back out of negotiations to settle with the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders over deceptive mortgage and foreclosure practices.
The group is calling upon Attorney General Kamala Harris to force Wells Fargo and other banks to impose moratoriums on “all foreclosures until full investigations into lending institutions’ policies and practices are pursued showing the extent of fraud on innocent homeowners”.
Harris recently ended California’s role in negotiations after calling the banks’ current settlement offer “inadequate for California”.
Friday was the final business day to come to an agreement on the nationwide settlement.
The protest comes as Wells Fargo held a workshop Friday to help would-be homebuyers qualify for a mortgage in order to reduce its inventory of unsold homes.
Many Occupy LA members agreed with Harris’ stance on the negotiations and criticized the $25 billion split between five separate banks that falls “short of expectations of accountability and consequence”.
“We call on Harris to continue to represent the people’s interests over lenders’,” said Carlos Marroquin, a Occupy activist and homeowner advocate. “Also, we call on Wells Fargo to do the right thing for homeowners.”
A handful of the group’s activists will take the unprecedented step on Monday of meeting directly with Wells Fargo officials to discuss the bank’s foreclosure practices and other concerns.