LOGAN – Senior United States Senator for Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D) hosted a conference call on Wednesday to discuss a record setting $16 billion settlement from Bank of America.
“It’s been some six years since the financial crises wreaked terrible damage on homeowners and investors in our state and across the country,” said Brown. “We made progress, we know though that the economy can’t fully recover until the housing industry does.”
The Thriving Communities Institute, an organization dedicated to eliminating vacant housing, estimates that 50,000 abandoned properties across the state have fallen into disrepair. According to their website:
“Vacant properties act like infectious and deadly agents in our communities. One vacant house on a block destroys the value of nearby homes. Soon, due to loss of value, foreclosures and bank walk-aways, the nearby homes become vacant as the disease spreads. Soon the entire neighborhood is dead and diseased, having been destroyed by this contagious and toxic process. Then the adjacent areas are infected and the disease spreads further … predictably, relentlessly, and with devastating consequences.”
“In too many cases big banks disregarded the law, they foreclosed on homeowners who were trying to pay their bills on time, and through this practice the banks generated billions in profits,” said Brown. “It’s time for them to start paying some of that back to the communities who suffered.”
To this effect, Brown joined forces with many of his colleagues in congress to investigate and discover which institutions were the main culprits of the foreclosure fraud, resulting in the largest lenders agreed to pay more than $16 billion in retribution. The three larges U.S. banks must dedicate $13 billion of that total to various consumer relief programs.
“These funds won’t erase the housing crisis, but they’ll help reverse its course,” said Brown. “That’s why I’ve teamed up with Senator Rob Portman to ensure that Ohio receives its fair share.”