CLAYTON, MO–(KMOX)–Protestors accuse The Bank of St. Louis of “greed,” for its opposition to a recently-passed county ordinance requiring mediation with homeowners facing foreclosure.
Chanting “housing is a human right,” members of the group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment attempted to deliver a letter to bank officials, but were told by police they could not enter the building at 8000 Maryland Avenue upon threat of arrest.
“I think we just want people to know The Business Bank of St. Louis is opposing this legislation because of their own greed,” said protestor Molly Gott, “and it’s really something St. Louisans need to defend their communities.”
In August the county council passed and the county executive signed into law an ordinance requiring mandatory mediation before a foreclosure may proceed. The Business Bank of St. louis filed a class action suit against the county, arguing that the law would prompt lenders to raise interest rates to offset the cost of mediation fees with delinquent borrowers.
Protestors argue that in a climate in which homeowners facing foreclosure can’t always get answers from their bank, mediation is needed to force banks to do all they can to help people stay in their homes.
“Mediation would allow the homeowner to request a neutral, third-party person to negotiate between them and the bank,” Gott said, “So, in those situations where homeowners can’t even get the same person on the phone twice, a mediator would be able to have more power to do that.”
The St. Louis Board of Alderman is also considering a similar bill sponsored by Aldermanic President Lewis Reed.
The protestors also sent a letter to federal regulators asking that The Bank of St. Louis’ opposition to foreclosure mediation be considered, when the bank comes up for its next review as a lender in the community.
KMOX left a message with a spokesperson for The Bank of St. Louis seeking reaction to the protest.