November 22, 2014

Elyria
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test

Lorain bank manager calls cops during foreclosure protest

LORAIN — Homeowners and foreclosure prevention advocates with the nonprofit group Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People were escorted by police out of the Chase Bank branch on Broadway in Lorain as part of a statewide protest Thursday at Chase branches.

No arrests were made.

Jennifer Schaeffer, foreclosure prevention and outreach coordinator with ESOP, said homeowners are frustrated with long wait times when trying to modify or refinance mortgages held by Chase Bank in order to avoid losing their homes.

“We believe Chase has failed to meet homeowners’ modification needs,” Schaeffer said.

She said some homeowners have waited six months to a year after asking Chase for help without results.

Mary Kay Bean, regional spokeswoman for Chase, disagreed with ESOP’s complaints.

“In general, Chase has helped 400,000 families avoid foreclosure since January of 2007,” Bean said. “We’ve been working really hard to help families stay in their homes.”

ESOP has more than a dozen written agreements with lenders that insist on quick notification to the homeowner that a modification request has been received as well as the lender’s willingness to halt a sheriff’s sale in favor of attempts to modify a loan or refinance, Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer said Chase does not have a written agreement with ESOP, and 22 frustrated homeowners went with her to the Lorain Chase branch to demand its branch manager call Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and ask Dimon to meet face to face with ESOP and homeowners to resolve their differences. The branch manager repeatedly refused the request and called police to the bank.

“The police came and escorted us out,” Schaeffer said. “They were very understanding.”

Schaeffer gave police a letter the group wrote to Dimon detailing their concerns with long wait times for resolutions to mortgage issues and vague, indefinite answers to questions.

Bean said Chase does not have a written agreement to work with ESOP, but does so on a regular basis.

“Our reps were on the phone with them (ESOP) today as they were presenting cases to us from clients,” Bean said. “Our reps meet with them on a pretty regular basis.”

ESOP also staged seven protests at Chase branches in Cleveland, Columbus, Warren, Massillon, Mansfield, Zanesville and Lucas on Thursday.

Bean said homeowners have lots of places they can go for foreclosure assistance, including Chase itself.

“We have thousands of loan counselors who are able to help consumers,” Bean said. “It takes a little time to work through a modification or refinancing, but we are ready to help people. If you have a Chase mortgage and are having trouble, you can call us directly on our toll-free line at (866) 550-5705.”

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or acastelli@chroniclet.com.