Facing Foreclosure, Protesters Seek Their Bailouts From Fannie Mae

Hundreds of homeowners facing foreclosure protested outside Fannie Mae headquarters on Wisconsin Avenue in northwest Washington Wednesday.

Chanting things like "Fannie Mae got its bailout, where's ours?" the protesters, who have applications pending, said they believe Fannie Mae is blocking them. The group held signs reading, "Restructure our loans now," "Fannie Mae destroys lives" and "Foreclose on Fannie Mae."

Fannie Mae President and CEO Herb Allison Jr. offered to speak to the head of the group by phone Tuesday, but the group turned him down, Fannie Mae representative Stacey Stewart said. Fannie Mae wants to help the protestors, Stewart said.

The protest began at 11 a.m. Mimicking a foreclosure, the group drove U-Haul trucks to Fannie Mae and unloaded furniture onto the sidewalk.

The protest was expected to last about an hour, but the protesters stormed through the gates. Several D.C. police officers were at the scene Wednesday afternoon.

Bruce Marks, of the Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, told the crowd that Fannie Mae agreed to talk to the group, but that didn't include Allison, who Marks was told was in the building. Marks told Fannie Mae the protesters would wait until they meet with Allison in person.

"The fact of the matter is, they talk and they talk but the only one who can make a decision is Herb Allison," Marks told the crowd.

NACA demanded that the government-controlled company modify loans to lower interest rates.

Late Wednesday afternoon, protest leaders and two homeowners were invited into the building to meet with Allison. The meeting went well, and Fannie Mae said they can help some of the homeowners. Another meeting was promised for next week.

Allison was hired seven weeks ago after the government bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together the two companies own or guarantee about $5 trillion of the nation's outstanding mortgages -- almost half of the home loans the United States.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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