Thu., July 22, 2010 5:46pm (EDT)

Protestors Demand Banks Help Homeowners
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Local labor and community groups say the big banks need to lower interest rates and principals on mortgages for victims of predatory lending practices. (photo by Melissa Stiers)
Local labor and community groups say the big banks need to lower interest rates and principals on mortgages for victims of predatory lending practices. (photo by Melissa Stiers)
Protestors chanting "We got sold out. The banks got bailed out!" rallied at Wachovia Wells Fargo offices in Atlanta today demanding big banks work with homeowners on refinancing their loans.

They say big banks aren’t doing enough to work with people like Gloria Sims who is a victim of predatory lending practices. The 87-year old is facing foreclosure after refinancing a home she and her husband have owned for more than five decades.

"It turned out they had put us in an adjustable rate mortgage," says Sims. "That interest rate went up and up until our payments were over $1,000 a month."

Sims who lives on a fixed income says she can’t afford that and is having a hard time renegotiating her loan with her bank.

Labor and community groups organizing the march to Wachovia say she represents thousands of people in Georgia. They’re demanding all big banks lower their interest rates and principals on mortgages.

Wachovia-Wells Fargo officials met with advocates after the rally. Both called the meeting a good first step.

Wells Fargo Vice President Hugh Rowden says they share the same goal which is to keep people in their homes.

"We’ve led the market in principal reduction," says Rowden. "We’ve written down over $3 billion in principal for our customers."

Rowden says Wachovia-Wells Fargo has helped a half a million Americans avoid foreclosure this year.