ICAN Demands Wells Fargo Change Overdraft System & Payday Lending Practices

On Tuesday, October 26th, members of the Idaho Community Action Network gathered outside of the Wells Fargo bank in Pocatello, Idaho to demand changes to the bank’s excessive overdraft system. Many Idahoans have experienced the pains of the economic recession and are in a state of discontent with Wells Fargo’s failure to address the financial crisis. “Due to the fees, my family and I had to let go of some things from the grocery store because we live paycheck-to-paycheck,” said Debra Maltos, a member of the organization. Read more

The Bank of North Dakota: What a Bank Should Be

It’s been a heated election season. When the political dogfights get all the attention, it’s easy to forget that there good policies and institutions out there that receive bipartisan praise, are working well, and deserve to be built upon.

The Bank of North Dakota is an important example. Founded in 1919 in response to a credit crisis that threatened that state’s agrarian economy, the Bank of North Dakota is now a revered institution credited with helping keep the state solvent and growing while many others are struggling with the effects of the current recession. Read more

Washington CAN! Holds Action Demanding Big Banks To End Foreclosures

On Tuesday, October 26th, at 11:30 a.m., more than two dozen homeowners, friends, and community members marched into Chase Bank in downtown Burien, Washington and demanded an end to foreclosures in the state.

These homeowners represented just a handful of the 225,000 underwater homeowners in the state of Washington. The action, organized by Washington CAN!, was part of a national campaign to end foreclosures and to call for a write-down of principle for people at risk of losing their homes. Read more

A Victory for Health Care Implementation

Last week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) finalized their recommendations to President Obama on how to implement a critical piece of health care reform: medical loss rations. Their recommendation is a significant victory because,  according to the Washington Post, it largely favors “the views of consumer advocates over those advanced by the insurance industry.” Read more

Banks and Foreclosures: Where’s the Accountability?

Over the past several weeks Bank of America, Ally, and GMAC have announced that they have will be halting foreclosures in the 23 states that require a judge to sign off on foreclosures before eviction. Did this decision come from enlightened bank management who understand what is needed to stabilize the housing market and pull our economy out of the cellar? Of course not. Instead, it was done in response to the damning evidence that recently came to light that banks weren’t reading documents, were forging notarizations, foreclosing on homes that they didn’t own, and outright fabrication of loan documents. As usual the media is missing the real story during this ongoing foreclosure mess. Read more

Where’s the Note: Is Your Mortgage Affected?

Recent reports show the bankers in charge of approving the foreclosure paperwork weren’t even reading what they were signing. Wall Street has bought and sold our mortgages so many times, they’ve lost track of who owns what. And now they’re getting caught red-handed. In one state, two banks tried to foreclose on the same home. In another state, Bank of America tried to take a house away from a man who’d never even had a mortgage. Read more

On Language Access, Holding HHS Accountable to People, Not Insurance Companies

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently creating the regulations that basically put the meat on the bones of this country’s health care reform law. It is the outcome of these rule-making decisions that will determine the success, or failure, of reform. NWFCO, with the Health Rights Organizing Project, has been weighing in on key aspects of reform that have been prioritized by the communities with which we work. One key issue is addressing the linguistic barriers limited English proficient (LEP) people face when trying to access health insurance coverage and medical care in the current system. Read more

Getting Out the Latino Vote in the November Elections

A poll released on October 5th shows that while Democratic-leaning Latinos are not likely to vote with the Republican Party this November, they are also so disappointed with the current political climate that many of them might not participate in the upcoming elections at all (( New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/us/politics/06immig.html?_r=3&pagewanted=2)). According to the Pew Hispanic Center poll, only 51 percent of the Latino population who are registered to vote stated that they will go to the polls, compared to 70 percent of all registered voters in the U.S. (( Pew Hispanic:  http://pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=127)) While Latinos continue to vote largely with the Democratic Party, it seems that this year they are disenchanted with the White House’s enforcement and stance on immigration reform. Read more

Building a National Movement Against The Big Banks: Organizing Underwater Homeowners

In September, NWFCO joined more than 230 people from around the country for the “Banking for a New Economy” Summit in Chicago, Illinois. We came together to build a national movement for bank accountability – reminding ourselves that the banks created the greatest economic crisis since the Depression, and now we have to make them fix it

At the summit, NWFCO’s Betsy Dillner talked to a group of grassroots leaders and organizers from across the country about our work in Washington state to organize “underwater homeowners” – those who owe more on their homes than their homes are currently worth. (When the big banks created a housing bubble and then crashed the economy, housing prices plummeted, leaving hundreds of thousands of people underwater.) Read more

$75 Million: For the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, A Small Price to Pay for an Election

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been all over the airwaves recently–and not just with its hefty ad buys targeting candidates in the fast approaching November elections. Last week, the Chamber earned a wave of critical press when the story broke that it was funneling donations from international corporations and overseas affiliates into the same bank account used to fund its electioneering campaign ads ((http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/05/foreign-chamber-commerce/)). Read more