Saturday, August 20, 2011


By Erick Galindo, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/18/2011 11:08:03 PM PDT


Protesters supporting Rose Gudiel and her mother march in front of OneWest Bank s headquarters in Pasadena on Thursday. (Walt Mancini / Staff Photographer)

PASADENA - A group of about 50 protesters Thursday overwhelmed security, jumped turnstiles and briefly commandeered the corporate headquarters of OneWest Bank.

Members of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Service Employees International Union set up tents and blocked the narrow corridor in front of the employee elevators for several minutes as they chanted loudly in support of Rose Gudiel, who is on the brink of being evicted from her La Puente home.

"I'm here because they refuse to meet with me," Gudiel said. "I believe I qualify for a loan modification, and they refuse to explain to me why I do not."

Seven Pasadena police officers showed up to deal with the animated protesters, who
ignored several requests to leave the private property. No arrests were made.
The group finally agreed to leave when Vice President Brandon Latman agreed to meet with Gudiel and her family.
Latman came to the front lobby, where he listened briefly to Gudiel's story before asking one of his colleagues to set up a room with his laptop.
Protesters moved to picket the entrance to the building, while Gudiel met privately with Latman for nearly 20 minutes.
Gudiel said Latman would not tell her if he had the authority to authorize a loan modification. He scheduled a meeting this morning between Gudiel and "people with more authority," she said.
"We asked him if he could postpone the eviction until the paperwork can be reviewed," she said. "He said no."

Latman and other bank officials declined to comment.

Gudiel, a state employee, has been attempting to get the bank to modify her loan for almost two years. The request came after her brother was gunned down in La Puente in 2009, causing the household income to drop, she said.

Although the income has long since recovered, the bank has consistently refused to give them a loan modification, she said.

OneWest Bank,

Linda Dent holds a sign while La Puente homeowner Rose Gudiel, 35, and her disabled mother, Rosa Maria Gudiel, 65, sit in one of two tents in the lobby of OneWest Bank's headquarters in Pasadena on Thursday. (Walt Mancini / Staff Photographer)
which took over embattled Indymac bank two years ago, has been under criticism from consumer rights groups and others for its aggressive foreclosure practices on Indymac loans.
In 2009, a state court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the bank from commencing any "unlawful detainer (eviction) action against the borrower or selling" the property from under the owner.

ACCE spokesman Albert Dosman pointed to OneWest's refusal to join the state's "Keep Your Home" program as more evidence of the bank's lack of commitment to homeowners.

The program provides federal funds to assist low- and moderate-income homeowners, but the lender must agree to accept the terms of the program.

Dosman said OneWest is one of the only major lenders in the state that refuses to partake in the program.

Last year, the group of billionaire private investors who took over OneWest turned a profit of more than $1.5 billion, said ACCE spokesman Abdullah Muhammad.

ACCE Los Angeles director Peter Kuhns said that all Gudiel and other homeowners are looking for is a fair process.

"Often owners can afford to pay a modified mortgage but the banks are not calculating monthly income correctly," he said.

Gudiel agreed, saying all she wanted was to meet with someone from the bank.

"I don't understand what they are doing," she said. "One day I get loan modification papers, the next day I get a foreclosure notice."

According to Gudiel, she will refuse to leave her home and ignore the eviction scheduled for later this month.

"I'll be there waiting for them to come and try to evict me," she said.  Kuhns said ACCE and SEIU would be right there with her.

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