Help OWS Stop Church Foreclosure In MLK’s Old Neighborhood

Since the 2008 mortgage crisis, the oldest and most “trustworthy” banks have been found guilty of fraud, deception and predatory practices.

Since its inception, the Occupy Wall Street movement has served as a public whistle blower, pointing out the corrupt actions of the Big Banks that took a taxpayer bailout and then foreclosed on the very customers that saved them.

Now, on the eve of the day that we celebrate the courage and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Big Bank is attempting to commit yet another atrocious act of foreclosure.

Just days away from the MLK holiday, BB&T bank is attempting to foreclose on one of the oldest churches in Dr. King’s old neighborhood — Vine City in Atlanta, Georgia.

The church, Higher Ground Empowerment Center, has been a cornerstone of one of Atlanta’s most historic and under-resourced communities for the past 108 years,” reports Van Jones’ organization Rebuild the Dream. After a tornado ripped through the property in 2008, the church was forced to take out a loan to cover the repairs. It has managed to pick itself up, rebuild, and continue servicing the community.

The church was heavily damaged by a tornado in 2008. Their insurance wasn’t enough, and they were forced to take out a loan to cover repairs. The loan is now “underwater,” meaning the loan is worth more than the property itself, and it has become increasingly difficult for the church to pay it back. For months and months, BB&T ignored the church’s requests to work out a loan modification. Instead, the bank started to evict them.

As we’ve seen before, Banks like BB&T are only concerned with their bottom line, and will continue with this this insensitive, fraudulent behavior until enough Americans are willing to stand up and call them out.

Activists in Occupy Atlanta have done amazing work on the ground to support the church and bring attention to this shameful situation. Thanks to their heroism, BB&T is coming to the negotiating table. Now, let’s make sure we help the church to get a fair deal. Let’s make sure BB&T knows the world is watching.


TAKE ACTION: Tell BB&T To Stop Foreclosing On Atlanta Church!


Related Reading:

Bank of America Settlement For Wrongful Foreclosures

Banks Overcharged, Improperly Foreclosed On Military Families

Law Firm’s Halloween Party Mocks Foreclosure Victims

Image Credit: Flickr – respres

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Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

With pleasure!

Chaplain Andrea
Andrea Tackett3 years ago

Thank you for posting.
God bless~

Rebecca W.
Rebecca W.3 years ago

I signed the petition - not because it’s a church, not because it’s a historic site, not because it’s in MLK’s old ‘hood – I signed because the banks need to realized they should have compassion on anyone who is struggling to pay their debts. The banks bottom line would look a lot better if they would help the people who are struggling to make payments by restructuring the debt. They also wouldn’t come off as total A-holes and maybe have more people wanting to bank with them or take loans from them.

Rebecca W.
Rebecca W.3 years ago

Nancy L.- did you read the whole article? They are NOT asking to be “let off the hook” they are asking for the bank to make it possible for them to pay (at least part of) what stands against them and be reasonable. The original loan PLUS INTEREST is “worth more than the property itself”. If the bank restructures the loan they would still get the original loan amount back, plus a small(er) amount of interest. Instead the bank is demanding the church pay more money than the bank could hope to get out of a foreclosure. This is an example of corporate greed. And it makes a BIG difference what neighborhood it is in. If it was in a rich neighborhood they would have had the resources to pay off the loan... or not have to take one out to begin with.

Steve N. – If the bank was only trying to “cover it’s losses” they should have offered to restructure. The church isn’t complaining about having to pay back the money they borrowed. They are being buried under the INTEREST.
“I would much rather see that than the bank cover the loss by raising rates on those who pay every month on time.” Really??? What I’m hearing is “I don’t care what happens to those who can’t afford it, just so long as it doesn’t affect MY bottom line.” Will you have the same attitude if one day you find yourself unable to keep up your own payments?

I signed the petition - not because it’s a church, not because it’s

Nancy L.
Nancy L.3 years ago

Churches have to pay their obligations too. They're no better than anyone else. They don't even have to pay taxes, but people want them to be let off the hook for their debts?? And what difference does it make what neighborhood it's in??

Portland N.

I heard that Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae treated their mortgagers the same way. I believe Bank of America and Chase behaved the same way as well.

I had a job-related acquaintance for awhile that had a mortgage with Freddie Mac. He was laid off from the construction industry, and instead of collecting unemployment, he began working armed security, which paid far less than what he was used to but more than unemployment.

Obviously, with his lower income, he and his wife fell behind on the mortgage. They hired a good lawyer to help negotiate a loan modification, but Freddie Mac was unyielding in the process. Meanwhile, a year after the lay off in construction, he landed a position with the Nevada state troopers and spent a year going through on-the-job-training. When he lost his court case, his home, and had acquired an extremely low credit score, he was let go one week before qualifying as an official Nevada State Police Officer.

In Nevada, and maybe everywhere else, ones credit score plays an important role for hiring and maintaining employment, especially with law enforcement.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Gladly signed.

Mary L.
Mary L.3 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Daryl E.
Daryl E.3 years ago

@rita b:
Non-profits have laws that govern them and one of these laws is that they be non-political. Many churches violate that law by openly telling their congregations such outrageous commands as, "True Christians can only vote Republican," and yet the government ignores this law and continues to bestow non-profit status on religions.

You ask for respect for religion, but would you give respect to the belief in Santa Claus? H. L. Mencken had it right, in my opinion, when he wrote, "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart." I believe in giving respect to all people for their beliefs, but I consider it reasonable to challenge them on their beliefs when those beliefs are dangerous, divisive, delusional and especially when they cause others to pay higher taxes to subsidize their pursuit of delusions.

Ellen Mccabe
ellen m.3 years ago

I've already signed, fb, tweeted and emailed the bank.
This was a really bad PR move.
But I expected nothing else from a financial institution.
Now we have to make sure all t's are crossed and i's dotted, they can't be allowed to have the pressure taken off untill it's a done deal.