100,000+ Petition Signatures Bring Bank President to Negotiating Table with Foreclosed Homeowner

Minneapolis, MN--Thanks to 116,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, a campaign with Occupy Homes MN, and widespread community support, Woodlands National Bank President Ken Villebro will meet with foreclosed homeowner Anita Reyes Wednesday afternoon.

“I think we can change the way banks deal with people, get them to operate on a more personal level, an untraditional way of keeping homeowners in their homes,” said Anita, remembering Woodlands’ motto.

Homeowner of 17 years Anita Reyes’ problems began when her employment hours were cut. Then uncontrolled diabetes plus vertigo reared its ugly head, making her problems even more complicated, and she fell three months behind in mortgage payments. She offered to make current payments plus half a payment until the balance was satisfied, but the bank refused. Foreclosure was imminent. An eviction notice was posted in June.

Anita reached out to Occupy Homes MN and spoke with organizer Anthony Newby, who told her, "I won't give up if you don't." These words gave Anita her first words of hope.

After Anita's eviction notice was posted, she made calls to the bank with the support of Occupy Homes MN. Shortly afterward, she received a call from bank Vice President Cindy Koonce with a rent-to-own offer. But the next day she was told the offer was off the table—ostensibly because she had called four minutes too late. Anita and supporters headed to Woodlands National Bank’s headquarters in Onamia to ask for a meeting with Cindy Koonce. Instead of arranging a meeting, the bank called the police.

Troy Amlee, a member of the American Indian Movement who supports Anita's campaign, told her, "I see homeless people every day. I don't want to see you homeless."

When Anita returned to the Minneapolisbranch of Woodlands Bank last week, carrying over 100,000 signatures from a petition on Change.org, the bank quickly changed its tune and set up a time for Anita to meet with President Ken Villebro.

“After enduring months of health issues complicated by the stress, worry and depression brought on from possibly facing homelessness I cry in relief…my health issues have been resolved, I am working full-time and can afford mortgage payments AND finally Woodlands National Bank is going to negotiate with me and give me my dreams, my memories and most of all my security back!” exclaimed Anita.

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