Dec. 13, 2011
WASHINGTON - Today Rep. Zoe Lofgren spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about a constituent who is a victim of predatory banking practices. Darlene Bowland is a 68 year old woman fighting cancer and Wells Fargo bank. She lived alone in a modest home in San Jose, California until she was evicted a week before Thanksgiving just two weeks into her chemotherapy treatment. To get her to dismiss her lawsuit against them, Wells Fargo offered Darlene $7500 and the option of allowing her to move back into her house until December 15th, instead of until after Christmas as she requested.
Darlene is just one of many victims of a World Savings loan product called a "pick-a-pay," which is designed to trap unwary homeowners into owing more than they borrowed, assuring the banks that sold them a captive audience that would need to continually refinance or face foreclosure.
"She owned her home free and clear at one time but was the victim of a pay loan, a way to confuse and basically steal her home," said Lofgren. "Last year, in 2010, the CEO John Stumpf earned more than $17 million in compensation. This Christmas Ms. Bowland will be couch-surfing with chemotherapy, [and] Mr. Stump will be enjoying his $17 million salary while her home in San Jose stays vacant. Merry Christmas from Wells Fargo."