SF Occupy Protesters Target Bank of America
Over Foreclosure Crisis

Written by Eric Louie. Posted in News, Politics

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Published on January 10, 2012 with 2 Comments

As many as 100 San Francisco Occupy demonstrators and activists blocked access to a Bank of America branch in the Excelsior District, Saturday, calling attention to unfair lending and foreclosure practices. Photos by Eric Louie.

By Eric Louie, special to FogCityJournal.com (via Media Workers Guild).

January 10, 2012

Occupy San Francisco targeted a neighborhood bank Saturday as a warm-up to a planned symbolic assault against the West Coast financial system.

About 100 demonstrators blocked access to a Bank of America branch in the Excelsior District to call attention to unfair lending practices.

It was the first in a series of weekend events which organizers hope will culminate January 20 in a mass protest big enough to clog the entire downtown Financial District.

The small crowd on Saturday gathered around noon at Mission Street and Ocean Avenue, where branches of Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo are close by. About two dozen uniformed police stood watch, but for the most part, did not get directly involved.

The main action was at the Bank of America branch. Speakers called for an end to foreclosures and demanded loan modifications to allow moderate-income borrowers to stay in their homes.

Neighborhood residents shared their personal stories through bullhorns. Some climbed ladders leaning against the building to hold a banner which read “Banks: Foreclosing Homes for Profit.”

Occupy protesters unfurled a banner that read, "Banks: Foreclosing homes for profit. "

Some customers walked through the crowd only to find the doors locked and bank closed. Others used the ATM.

Some demonstrators said the bank, which would normally have closed at 2 p.m. on a Saturday, started to shut down around noon when they tried getting in. However, one man with a homemade sign got through. He stayed at the door talking to other demonstrators until he walked away. Police reported he was arrested and taken to jail.

While a core group stayed, others marched to the Chase branch where another rally was held. That bank stayed open, though a handful of uniformed police kept watch from the inside. Speeches continued outside Bank of America for a couple of hours.

Another action is planned for noon Saturday, Jan. 14 at 16th and Mission streets in the Mission District. The month’s culminating event will be the Friday Jan. 20 shutdown of what organizers say are banks and corporations most involved in evicting tenants and homeowners.

An Occupy protester held a sign that read, "Banks, no more evictions and foreclosures."

Eric Louie is a freelance journalist and former East Bay chair of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, CWA Local 39521. He is producing regular freelance coverage of the Bay Area 99 percent, sponsored by a grant from CWA as part of a larger project to help build labor’s alliances with the Occupy movement.

Eric Louie

Eric Louie

Eric Louie is a reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has appeared in Greenbiz.com, Contra Costa Times, The Record ( (Stockton), Philippine News, Pacific News Service and the Sunset Beacon.

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2 Comments

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Over Foreclosure Crisis
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  1. Actually there’s conflicting data about what happened as a consequence of Nevada’s new law making it a felony to lie on foreclosure docs. Here’s the Los Angeles Times saying that homes entering foreclosure in Nevada dropped by 75% in October. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/09/business/la-fi-nevada-foreclosure-20111210

    October may have been the first month Nevada’s law was in effect, and the measure of the effect seems to differ in different news sources.

  2. “Foreclosure for profit” is not the most effective sign in this situation. Americans who are not anti-capitalist are likely to respond that it’s ridiculous not to expect anyone in business to be out to make a profit. That’s what business is about.

    The foreclosure wave is the result of predatory lending, mortgage securitization, derivatives, and massive fraud. The State of Nevada recently made it a felony to lie on foreclosure documents and there were a total of six foreclosures in the State of Nevada in November, the first full month the law was in effect. Before then Nevada had been one of the states hardest hit by foreclosures.