Yesterday we republished an article and video from The Uptake, one of our media partners, that was headlined, “A tale of two US Bank-Occupy foreclosures raises racial questions.” That headline and the article were in error.
Tom Joyce, Senior Vice President and Director of Public Relations at U.S. Bancorp, called me today to tell me that this article was in error and to express anger over the charge that U.S. Bank was engaged in racially-motivated actions. In a subsequent e-mail, he provided details about why it is unfair to charge U.S. Bank with responsibility for these two cases:
Monique White: U.S. Bank originated the loan,– but sold the loan to Freddie Mac more than six years ago (in 2005). Once that happened, we, as the servicer, were required to strictly follow Freddie’s servicing guidelines. Based on those guidelines, the house was foreclosed on in January 2011. The home has been the property of Freddie Mac. As such, we have had no authority to rewrite the terms of the loan. … We have repeatedly explained to Ms. White and Occupy Minnesota that we are not the servicer on this loan and have no authority to take any action. We also explained that Freddie Mac is the owner of the now foreclosed property, and the one that would take any eviction action.
Bobby Hull: This loan is one of many in a trust for which U.S. Bank serves as the trustee for the investors. We did not originate the loan, nor are we the servicer on the mortgage. As such, we have no ownership of this home, no economic interest in the loan, no authority to take any action on the mortgage – nor would we know of any potential modification. Bank of America is the servicer and as is the only entity with the authority to negotiate a loan modification with Mr. Hull. If a deal was reached with Mr. Hull, it was with Bank of America.
TC Daily Planet policies
As part of our mission to support local news publications—especially independent and neighborhood news publications—the Twin Cities Daily Planet maintains media partnerships with over 100 local publications. This is a reciprocal republication agreement: media partners can republish our original content free of charge, and we can republish theirs.
Though we do not edit or fact-check media partners’ stories, we are committed to accuracy and will take appropriate action, within our power, if and when any inaccuracies are discovered in republished stories. We also notify the partner, as we have done here.
In regard to Monique White, Brad German at Freddie Mac confirmed: “The foreclosure process, which was completed more than a year ago, transferred title to FM and extinguished the mortgage, which records show had gone unpaid since 6/1/09.” German said that he was ”not aware of any changes to our plan to secure the house and sell it in order to offset our losses on the mortgage.”
In regard to Bobby Hull, Jumana Bauwens of Bank of America confirmed that “We are the ones that offered the modification as servicer. We are in the process of completing the paperwork.”
UPDATED: Here’s The Uptake’s correction notice:
Correction: Freddie Mac, Not US Bank Foreclosing On Occupy Supported Home
Documents presented to The UpTake today show that Freddie Mac is foreclosing on North Minneapolis homeowner Monique White’s home, not US Bank as Occupy Minnesota activists had claimed. The UpTake reported Occupy Minnesota’s erroneous claim on Monday.
The eviction notice from Hennepin County mentions US Bank as the original servicer of the mortgage, but the court action was initiated by lawyers for Freddie Mac.
Unless something changes, White will lose her house on Friday when Freddie Mac takes possession of it and resells it to offset its losses on the mortgage.
Occupy Minnesota activists also erroneously claimed that US Bank could renegotiate the mortgage of veteran Bobby Hull’s home in South Minneapolis and erroneously implied the company was treating people unequally because it would renegotiate Hull’s and not the White’s. Today Bank of America indicated it, not US Bank was the servicer of Hull’s loan and Bank of America had offered to change the terms of the mortgage so Hull could remain in the home.