Chairman Hatch Refuses to Hear Testimony from Witnesses Victimized by “Foreclosure King” Mnuchin
Washington, DC – (RealEstateRama) — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her colleagues, including Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), hosted a forum with Americans from across the country who were victimized by Department of Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin. The participants came from Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey and California to share first-hand the vicious, and often illegal, practices that Mnuchin oversaw at OneWest to force people from their homes. Their full opening statements, as prepared for delivery, and a video of the forum are available here.
“Senators voting on this nomination must decide what kind of Treasury Secretary Mr. Mnuchin would be. Will this economy create jobs and grow wages for all Americans, or will it simply work for those at the top?” said Senator Warren. “Unfortunately, judging by Mr. Mnuchin’s tenure as the head of OneWest Bank, there is significant evidence that he has no interest in working for the benefit of all Americans.”
“Steve Mnuchin has made a career profiting off the backs of working people and I’m concerned that, as Treasury Secretary, he would make decisions that are not in the interests of Michigan families,” said Senator Stabenow. “Like all of Donald Trump’s nominees, Steve Mnuchin needs to serve the people’s business, not his own.”
“On issue after issue, this nominee leaves no doubt that he will do what’s best for big business and millionaires like himself-all at the expense of working families,” said Senator Murray. “Confirming this nominee– a multi-millionaire who was one of Mr. Trump’s largest and most loyal campaign donors– epitomizes the crony capitalism Mr. Trump has demonstrated through so many of the nominees he has sent to the Senate.”
Last Friday, 25 Senators wrote a letter to Chairman Hatch requesting that Mnuchin’s nomination hearing before the Finance Committee include witnesses who could provide insight on his tenure running OneWest, which has one of the worst reputations in the nation for foreclosing on families following the financial crisis of 2008. Chairman Hatch rejected their request.
Senator Warren Mnuchin was invited to attend the forum to listen to the witnesses and to provide any additional information on the practices that have given him the nickname “Foreclosure King,” but he declined.
Background on Participants:
Colleen Ison-Hodroff, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Colleen is 84 years old. When her husband bought a reverse mortgage on their fully paid-off home through OneWest subsidiary Financial Freedom, the broker assured the couple that Colleen could keep living there even if her husband passed away. Yet just days after her husband’s funeral, Colleen received a notice that she had to immediately pay off the full balance of her loan or face foreclosure. She has been fighting to keep her home ever since.
Heather McCreary, from Sparks, Nevada. Heather and her husband did everything they were told, multiple times, to obtain a loan modification from OneWest after they lost income because of the 2008 financial crisis. OneWest strung them along for years but then foreclosed so abruptly that it left Heather, her husband, and their two twin boys out on the street.
Sylvia Oliver, from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Sylvia has been trying for years to get a loan modification from OneWest – and for years, the bank has refused to work with her in good faith. She was originally scheduled to have her home foreclosed on today, but she received a 30-day extension and has traveled to DC to share her story.
Cristina Clifford, from Carlsbad, California. Cristina is a self-employed small business owner. She carefully followed OneWest’s instructions for obtaining a loan modification and sent in the required paperwork along with her payment. OneWest twice deposited her check but claimed it hadn’t received the paperwork that was included in the same package as the check. Cristina ultimately lost her home through foreclosure despite OneWest’s assurances that they would work with her to modify her loan and avoid foreclosure.
Paulina Gonzalezâ€¨Paulina is Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. CRC has been the leading outside organization tracking OneWest foreclosures. Paulina has worked for over 20 years leading economic justice organizing campaigns to expand worker rights, immigrant rights, and the rights of low income and underrepresented communities of color. She is also a member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board.