Social Media Potent Weapon In Foreclosure Fight

Kristina Darrington did a happy dance in her office cubicle on Tuesday. She called her husband Frank Clark to tell him the good news-Bank of America agreed to new terms on her mortgage. When Frank found out, he said he skipped through his job site.

“People were looking at me like I lost my marbles,” said Frank.

Clark and Darrington got $700 knocked off their monthly payment. That’s affordable, according to the couple who’ve been battling Bank of America for nearly three years. Another claim is that they received a principle forebearance of $39,000. That’s different than a principle reduction, which takes the amount off the original loan. Instead, Darrington and Clark will get a pass until the end when they will have to pay off the original amount, which includes the $39,000.

“We hope that this will motivate Bank of America to be the bank that’s good for America,” said Darrington.

Paul Lelii-another embattled homeowner also won lower monthly payments on his St. Paul home. He got the call Wednesday afternoon from a Bank of America representative that spelled out new terms for his loan. Over the last 18 months, he says he’s been trying to get a better and more affordable monthly payment.

“I got to call my daughter and tell her we saved the house,” said Lelii.

Social Media Pressure Pays Off

Both homeowners dealt with Bank of America’s social media team, which, according to Occupy Homes Activist Anthony Newby, is a sign that Banks are paying close attention to what is being said about them on media outlets like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“They don’t like the fact that we’re highlighting these injustices in a very public way,” said Newby.

Both homeowners celebrated at a BBQ hosted by Monique White-the first Occupy Homes activist to win a loan modification on her house from US Bank. Local music luminaries Brother Ali, Toki Wright and I Self Devine were on hand to lend support and celebrate after this week’s Occupy Homes conference.

Monique White, who won lower payments from US Bank after she confronted the company’s CEO at a board meeting said there is still work to be done.

“I’m asking every individual here tonight-wherever you’re at…from Coon Rapids to Chicago to Anoka…there’s still a struggle,” proclaimed White to a crowd of activists.

Smells of White’s signature BBQ chicken filled the air as Occupy Homes activists from across the country milled about at a backyard party hosted by White. She wanted to celebrate Clark and Lelii’s victory but also encourage all of those facing foreclosure and too scared to get help.

Allison Herrera

Allison Herrera, originally from San Luis Obispo, Calif.,  studied media and Spanish at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where she earned her bachelor s. Since moving to the Twin Cities, she has been a news producer for KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio, communications coordinator for Twin Cities Public Television's arts series MN Original, and producer for the Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radios Stations for the series MN90: Minnesota History in 90 Seconds.

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