A little known Minnesota law allows homeowners facing foreclosure to petition for a five-month delay of the sheriff’s sale — a period of time during which they have more leverage than after the sale. The Minnesota legislature passed this law two years ago, but it is not widely known, and banks rarely notify embattled homeowners of this right.
On May 7, Twin Cities faith leaders gathered in front of US Bank headquarters in Minneapolis to speak about how practices by Wall Street and major banks violate their shared faith values. Meanwhile, a coalition of community activists announced an educational anti-foreclosure campaign. Following the rally, organizers from Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Jewish Community Action trained over 30 volunteers to educate homeowners about the law that allows them to delay a sheriff’s sale. The volunteers contacted 300 homeowners in the Twin Cites who are battling US Bank and Wells Fargo in an attempt to avoid foreclosure.
“They’re good people who work in that bank,” Michael Latz, Rabbi at Shir Tikvah, said about U.S. Bancorp. “They are caring, loving decent people, but their hearts have been hardened.”
“We come for one reason, to ask the banks to do what is right and fair and gracious,” said Rev. Dwight Seawood, Fellowship Baptist Church. Other faith community participants included Bishop Richard Howell of Shiloh Temple, ISAIAH President and Rev. Paul Slack, Rev. Jonathan Zielske of Hope Lutheran Church, ISAIAH and Jewish Community Action.
The training was conducted at SEIU, Local 26 headquarters, and from there the volunteers left in pairs to visit foreclosed homes. One of the homeowners contacted had already succeeded in refinancing the Wells Fargo mortgage on a home that had been in his family for 24 years. While out of work, he was two days late in making a payment, and the bank refused to renegotiate and moved to foreclose. Instead, the homeowner used the Making Home Affordable Program to get the loan revised.
The teams knocked on a total 152 doors, contacted 26 owners and five tenants. Eight owners said they would file the affidavit, which would give them additional time to negotiate.