(Cross-posted from The New York Communities for Change blog)

Maribel Toure was hit by a taxi on her way to work as an X-Ray Technician in 2009. Because of her injuries, she was unable to work for four months.

Just a few weeks before Maribel’s accident, her husband was laid off from his job.

Their run of bad luck put a strain on their savings, and when their daughter started college, they fell behind on their mortgage.

Stories like these are not unusual.  In the last half decade, thousands of American families fell behind on their mortgages because of layoffs, medical emergencies and other unpredictable circumstances. And thousands of families like Maribel’s found their lenders at best unresponsive, when they asked for help.

For the past two and a half years, Maribel has tried to get JP Morgan Chase to modify her mortgage.

“{Working with Chase} has been an unhealthy experience, with bad communication and no response,” said Maribel who has had to work 16-hour shifts in the hospital to make extra money to continue making her mortgage payments.  “I’ve asked for a modification three times, but have gotten no straight answer — I’m stuck in limbo.”

The facts show that this is more than an isolated incident:  it’s a trend.  Only 6% of NY Homeowners who sought help received a permanent mortgage modification from JP Morgan Chase.

Maribel’s story could belong to any of the thousands of NY families facing foreclosure.  But her story is different.   She joined NYCC’s Not the Way Forward Campaign and organized with hundreds of other NY homeowners who are in the same boat.

Maribel was able to share her story with the Mayor of the Village of Hempstead, who responded by closing the Village’s $12.5 million dollar account with JP Morgan Chase.

Shortly after Maribel spoke at a press conference announcing the Village’s decision, she received a Trial Mortgage Modification.

This is what happens when governments stand up to Wall Street and defend working families.  Wall Street may still reign supreme in Washington D.C., but in New York the tide is turning.

The Village of Freeport closed its account with JP Morgan Chase, and Albany County legislators passed a proclamation stating they would no longer bond with JP Morgan Chase, and recommended that the county close their Chase account.

Similar bills are going into committee, in the City of Binghamton and Westchester County.

On Thursday the Albany City Council will vote on a bill demanding that the City  avoids doing business with financial institutions currently under investigation by the federal government for irregular behavior in mortgage lending.

Three more counties (Ulster, Monroe, Nassau) and two cities (Yonkers and Rochester) have expressed interest in joining the campaign, and 426 elected officials and candidates for office, representing more than 150 villages, towns, cities and counties, have pledged to support their government pulling their money from Chase.

Can you imagine what would happen if every town in New York did the same?

Click here to join the Not the Way Forward Campaign and demand that your local elected officials stop doing business with JP Morgan Chase.

About the Author

Greg Basta

Staff Director for New York Communities for Change, an organization fighting for social and economic justice for working families throughout New York State. Also an overly proud native of Brooklyn.

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