Frustrated homeowners confront Bank of America office - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Frustrated homeowners confront Bank of America office

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tired of being ignored and desperate for action a group of homeowners charge into Bank of America's loan office in Downtown Honolulu.  The homeowners turned activists weren't sure what to expect as they barged in on the biggest bank in the country.

The group went in armed with Valentine's cards, but they weren't love notes, they were more like demands saying things like "Bank of America don't break our hearts" and "Send an authorized loan modification negotiator to Hawaii by February 28."

The group of about 16 squeezed into Bank of America's loan office lobby.  A manager did come out to speak with them but less than a minute in there was this.

"Pardon me. We appreciate you coming by but we didn't have a meeting set up," said the unnamed manager.

"No we don't," said Rev. Sam Domingo, Faith Action for Community Equity or FACE, which is advocating with the homeowners.

Unfazed the group held their ground and continued talking.

"We've been wanting to make sure that somebody from the main office comes down so they can deal face to face with foreclosure issues," said Domingo.

"It's just been very difficult and we would like to have someone authorized come here and negotiate a fair modification loan. That's why we are here," said Eddie Amaral, Kalihi Homeowner, who says he's been trying to modify his home loan with Bank of America more than a year.

"We have families who have been trying to reach Bank of America and they have not been able to get a fair chance," said Jun Yang, FACE Organizer.

"With all due respect I do appreciate your time. I will pass this along to our media line and to the people that you asked. I don't personally handle that," said the bank manager.

The whole encounter lasted five minutes before another manager asked them to leave.

"Maybe we can present our Valentine's to the gentleman," said Kim Harman, from the group.

"No thank you. Folks please exit the lobby," replied the other bank manager who declined to give his or the other manager's name.

When he didn't take the Valentine cards the group posted them on the lobby window and sang the song they wrote.

"One hale, two hale, three hale. BofA don't take our homes. Foreclosures on the left, foreclosures on the right, BofA it's time to meet with us," sang the group.

Overall the homeowners walked away pleased.

"A lot of the tension and the frustration is slowly coming out but I'm glad I got to say how I felt," said Amaral.

From the bank they went straight to the state capitol to pass out information about their cause and generate support for the bills that force banks to meet with homeowners face to face.

"We're just trying to add a little pressure to make them know that we intend to continue to pursue this until we have resolution," said Domingo.

House Bill 1411 which would require banks to negotiate with homeowners face to face has a decision making hearing at the capitol this Wednesday.  Senate Bill 651 which is a similar bill passed second reading and is scheduled to go to the Ways and Means Committee.

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