JP Nonprofit Helps Dump Trash on Bank President's Beacon Hill Stoop

Upset over Bank of America's foreclosure practices, protesters dumped trash in front of Robert Gallery's Beacon Street home. City Life/Vida Urbana of JP helped organize the event.

Hauling several bags of garbage left at a foreclosed Bank of America property in Malden, dozens of protesters showed up at bank president Robert Gallery's Beacon Hill home Wednesday to dump the trash and unload fury.

A JP-based nonprofit, , helped organize the foreclosure protest

"We're here today because of the loan-servicing abuse that's going on in America," Antonio Ennis, of Dorchester, announced through a bullhorn in front of Gallery's 95 Beacon St. home before listing demands the bank must meet to avoid a large protest scheduled at their downtown headquarters Sept. 30.

Demands include that the bank:

  • Halt all foreclosures and evictions until underwater mortgages can be renegotiated.
  • Stop the crackdown on small business lending.
  • Rescind its proposed mass layoffs and take steps to protect and create Massachusetts jobs. 
  • End its board members' policies that exclude Bay State families from key programs like weatherization.

The trash deposited in front of Gallery's home came from a property that has remained vacant for a year at 56 Clinton St., Malden. Bank of America evicted a young family from the house last year and, neighbors say, let the property fall into disrepair. The city fined the bank $500 for keeping the property vacant.

A dozen or so volunteers gathered 10 bags of garbage from the property Monday and delivered it to Bank of America's Malden branch office. The bank manager refused to accept it, so they decided to take it to Gallery's Beacon Hill home. 

Gallery, president of the bank's Massachusetts operations, did not appear to be at home, but bank spokesman T.J. Crawford told Patch this afternoon that the bank does not "approve of any PR stunt that invades the privacy of a bank employee and their family."

"Rather than refute this group’s baseless claims with facts, let me simply state that Bank of America has a lot to be proud of in Massachusetts, from providing $12 million in charitable giving annually to lending $393 million in the first half of 2011 to small businesses that are creating jobs and fueling the local economy," Crawford said.

Activists from area nonprofits – including MASSUNITING, based in Charlestown; , of Jamaica Plain; and Lynn United for Change – held a different view of the bank's impact on Massachusetts communities.

"Too many have been thrown out of their homes because Bank of America insists on evicting people after foreclosure instead of finding a way to avoid foreclosure in the first place," Isaac Simon Hodes, an organizer for Lynn United for Change, said.

Claudia Thompson, a single mother in Malden, recently avoided foreclosure by a different bank and came out to support those who lost their homes in Bank of America proceedings.

"I want people to let people know that they don't have to just stay quiet and take it," Thompson said. "We're asking for the bank to cooperate."

Meanwhile, protesters marched on Wall Street over the weekend to protest the control big business and financial institutions have on Congress.

Cory Gudwin September 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Groups and protests ike this make it even less likely that banks will lend to people with past credit problems or people buying on low-to-moderate income. I don't believe banks caused this crisis. Nobody forced these folks to buy properties they could barely afford. Everbody knew we were in a housing bubble but these folks ignored and bought anyway. Stop feeling entitled and focus on personal responsibility for personal problems.
Bob from JP September 22, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Exactly. Banks certainly had a role in all of this, but no one put a gun to anyone's head and forced them to sign mortgage papers. I can empathize with people who have lost their homes - but there has to be some level of personal responsibility here as well. Banks are in business to make money, not serve as a charitable trust for everyone who is unable to pay their mortgage.
James LaFond-Lewis September 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM
I'm a strong advocate for small business. I'm all for free market and personal responsibility. Banks have not operated in a free market; they have been propped up by government and cannot fail in the traditional sense. Their executives are even further removed from personal responsibility. Irresponsible borrowing only accounted for half of the housing bubble, bank lending practices accounted for the other half. Suffering, on the other hand, is meted out a lot more generously to the borrowers than the lenders. Trash on Gallery's doorstep is mild in comparison to the trashy way many troubled borrowers are treated. Foreclosed bank properties are frequently blights on the landscape because of the way they are neglected. Lenders get away with causing further deterioration in already affected neighborhoods. If there is a personal cost to Gallery, or if he is at least made aware of how damaging his bank's practices can be, maybe he'll recognize the role he played in causing the financial debacle and work harder to redress the mess.


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