Friday afternoon, 50 community members marched on Wells Fargo demanding that the bank negotiate a loan modification with the wrongly foreclosed Garcia family of Colombia Heights. The Garcias could face eviction as soon as Wednesday.
"We are in the struggle because Wells Fargo has committed injustice to our family and families like us all over the country. They tricked us into a loan modification we couldn't afford. We shall not be moved until they come to the table for a fair modification," said Olivia Vital, marching with her husband Arturo Garcia and twelve-year-old daughter Juquila.
The group, which included members from AFL-CIO’s Minnesota Young Workers, the United Steelworkers (currently on tour with the Summer of Solidarity), Occupy Homes MN, students from Macalester Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus, as well as the family facing eviction, marched while chanting through the streets to the Wells Fargo building in Landmark Plaza in downtown St. Paul.
Upon entering the building, three marchers dropped a banner that read, “Wells Fargo, the Garcia Family will not be moved,” while the others set up a table, demanding that a manager come out and work with the Garcias. A few minutes later a bank representative came to the table with the family, eventually agreeing to call Wells Fargo Home Mortgage at a later time when it was open. It is unknown if the manager actually made the call.
Arturo Garcia, Olivia Vital, and their daughter went into foreclosure after Wells Fargo tricked them into a predatory loan that increased their monthly payments rather than lowering them after Arturo lost his job. The family has lived in their home in Colombia Heights for 12 years. The Garcias are asking that the bank renegotiate and give them a loan that will allow them to stay in their home and have declared they will not move.
The Garcias are not alone in their struggles. Wells Fargo has come under fire for targeting communities of color with predatory loans. In Minneapolis, Latino families who work with Wells Fargo are 2.4 times more likely to receive a predatory, subprime loan than their white counterparts.