Organizing To End Predatory Lending

SUN’s Banking Committee held an exciting public meeting on Thursday May 27th. Over 100 residents from the south and near-west sides of the city heard about our victories in fighting predatory lending.

Predatory Lending is any loan that seeks to take advantage of the borrower and steal the equity in their home. These modern day loan sharks come at families at every stage of the process:
1) When a family applies for a loan–Crooked appraisers inflate the value of the house, making it impossible to refinance or get a home equity loan for repairs.
2) When your loan is approved– The loan often has outrageously high interest rates and hidden fees.
3) When you pay on the loan–servicing corporations play games to get you to pay late fees and for services you don’t need.

Working with a coalition of neighborhood groups from around the country under the banner of National People’s Action, SUN has been able to win for Syracuse agreements with both CitiFinancial and Fairbanks Capital Corp..

SUN was privileged to have Inez Killingsworth, one of the co-chairpersons of National People’s Action and a long-time community activist from Cleveland, Ohio on hand to explain the national agreements and how local families can work with SUN to improve their mortgage loans.

People at the meeting were able to hear from top officials from Citifinancial’s offices in N.Y.C. commit to reviewing all loans submitted by SUN. These same officials toured our neighborhoods with SUN’s Banking Committee and committed to working with SUN to find a way to provide more funding for homeownership and home repairs.

If you have a loan with either of these companies, call SUN at 476-7475 today. SUN will get your loan reviewed and you may be able to have the terms of the loan renegotiated.

SUN was also happy to announce two more targets for our ongoing campaign to end predatory lending. HSBC bank has purchased one of the worst loan shark lenders in the country–Houshold Finance Corp. SUN is calling on local officials to meet with SUN and negotiate a similar agreement to repair the loans of families that have been ripped off by Household Finance.

SUN also announced that we will pursue justice for the families that have been abused by Fred Hawkins, owner of Joshua Herman Associates. Many families purchased shoddy homes with loan shark financing, crooked appraisals and shyster legal advice–all provided by Mr. Hawkins. Sheila Golden, an owner of a Fred Hawkins-sold home, energized the crowd with her determination to bring these parasites to justice. Many people rose to their feet when asked if they had dealt with Mr. Hawkins or his cronies. Those sleazeballs’ days are numbered!

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