By Sean Reilly Wood
Six years after housing prices began their perilous drop in January 2007, the negative equity of all underwater mortgages within the United States is still a whopping $689 billion. Neither Congress, President Obama, or the Federal Housing Finance Agency have sufficiently addressed this ongoing crisis.
Instead, students are stepping up.
On Wednesday, February 27, more than 200 students rallied at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, against Wells Fargo and home foreclosures. The previous day, four members of the student group “Kick Wall Street Off Campus” (KWOC) had met with representatives from Wells Fargo and the Macalester administration to demand that Wells Fargo implement a principal reduction policy. Under this policy, all underwater mortgages would be renegotiated to current market value. In a post-crisis market, homeowners would be given a fair value for their house and the banks – who caused the crisis – would take a slight hit to their assets in return for long term loan stability.
Unsurprisingly, Wells Fargo refused. At the Wednesday rally, students asked Macalester to end financial dealings with Wells Fargo, objecting to their college’s affiliation with a firm which not only helped cause the housing crisis but has continued abusive policies in the wake of it, refusing to renegotiate loans for struggling homeowners. Afterwards, students went into Minneapolis proper and rallied a second time at the foreclosed home of Gayle Lindsey before marching to the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Headquarters. More