Saturday, February 05, 2011

Local activists protest Chase Bank branch in Louisville - Tom Owen tries to avoid crowd

Chase Bank, Baxter & Highland
Yesterday afternoon a group of local union activists gathered on a Louisville sidewalk to protest the greed-driven actions of JPMorgan Chase. The protest, held in front of a Chase Bank location at Baxter and Highland, drew support from passers-by as well as Chase customers.

The protests were part of a nationwide action against the bank yesterday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chase is #1 in foreclosures, many processed improperly (some during the federal loan modification process), causing great harm to American homeowners, property values and the nation's economy.

Chase has $18.9 billion worth of home loans in foreclosure on its books as of September 30, 2010. 7.48% of all JPMorgan Chase-owned residential mortgages are in foreclosure, the largest foreclosure rate among the big banks.

JPMorgan Chase reported 2010 net income of $17.4 billion, an increase of 48% compared with $11.7 billion for the prior year. Earnings per share were $3.96, compared with $2.26 for 2009. For 2009, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO James Dimon received a $1 million salary and equity awards valued at $14 million.

The protesters, demanding that Chase declare a moratorium on home foreclosures, were approached by people on the street that had problems themselves or knew someone who was having problems dealing with Chase on their mortgage.

"My poor mother is going through this exact thing with these bastards!", said one woman who stopped to see what the fuss was about. "Oh my God, they are such liars. They keep saying they lost my mom's modification paperwork like 10 times, and now they're in the process of taking her house away before she can get the modification approved."

Sound familiar?

Tom Owen (D-8): "What, me worry?"
The strangest moment of the hour-long rally came when Metro Councilman Tom Owen (D-8), while walking a bike, attempted to pass through the middle of the protest without taking literature or even acknowledging the presence of the crowd. Protester Kirk Gillenwaters, a local UAW retiree, said of Owen, "Tom Owen has a reputation of being a good listener, but we sure didn't see that here today. I practically had to jam this flyer under his arm. In a district that has had as many foreclosures as Councilman Owen's, I sure would have thought he'd have taken this issue more seriously today considering some of the people affected by this bank's actions are his constituents."

Councilman Owen, with flyer in hand, hastily made his way across the street after trying his best to ignore the issue.

The attempt to send a message to Chase continues on March 18, culminating in a rally at the bank's headquarters in New York.


  1. Maybe Owen had an appointment to get to. It's probably a hasty judgment to say he's ignoring the issue.

  2. I don't know. I was standing right there. He could have easily said "I sympathize with your cause, but I have an appointment to make. Sorry."

    He didn't.

    I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but that picture I took of him says many words. He displayed no interest whatsoever. I found him to be a little stand-offish, actually.

    I, having been a victim of this institution, found his attitude to be appalling and was surprised by the way he conducted himself. The protesters certainly gave him a warm welcome when they saw him, almost as if it was understood he was "on their side". They were all disappointed in him.