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An Open Letter to My Guy Grant, Loss Mitigation Manager at CitiMortgage
I hope this letter finds you well. I appreciate you calling me September 4 to tell me that you had not received the final paperwork on the Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure on my house. I even appreciate the urgency in your voice when you so sweetly said to me “Hello, it’s Grant from CitiMortgage. Vicki, you must get this signed immediately and scan and email it to me because the foreclosure is scheduled for September 15.” You had me at hello.
I even answered your call when I was on vacation in August. You were so happy to keep me filled in on my process. If only you had paid more attention in the early days of our relationship you would have known that I have had a job for six years wherein I develop our local economy, that my friends are involved in environmental issues, food issues, renewable energy issues and good old fashioned activism and humanitarianism. You didn’t care that my voice cries out for justice for locally owned independent businesses and calls upon our community to move their money to local banks so we can keep our hard earned dollars in our town. Grant, you never listened when I told you that if you could just refinance me, I could continue to live in my underwater house (although you might have needed to provide a life jacket, just in case.) But you didn’t care about my social capital did you? No. You only cared about my bottom line. You wanted that paperwork so bad. You wanted to inform the local real estate company “that the paperwork was done, and go ahead and list the property now because I – oops – I mean Citimortgage owns it.” I can see you throw your head back in laughter as you talk to the listing agent. You wanted to recoup your losses so fast that you listed and sold the property less than 30 days after I scanned and faxed my paperwork to you. And might I add that you listed it for less than you would have approved a short sale for? I should have known our time together would not last, Grant.
But that’s not why I’m writing you. I’m writing to you because I wonder if you know about Occupy Wall Street? Do you have friends there, Grant? Do you have friends in the town you call me from (I think my caller ID told me you are in Iowa but how can I trust you now)? Those friends I mentioned earlier? Those are my friends, Grant, and they are Occupying Everywhere Together. They are my friends who are losing their homes, have lost their jobs, taken massive pay cuts, have master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, have student debt so high they may not make enough in their lifetime to recover from it, have fought for climate protection from corporations that choke the trees and the air and children, they fight for human rights and living wages so that all may have meaningful work. They are red and blue, left and right, central and yes, some of them might be a little crazy to camp out on Wall Street. But they are my friends, Grant. And I stand with them in solidarity to Occupy Wall Street, to Occupy Santa Fe, to Occupy Everywhere Together. You, however, are not my friend.
I wake up every day and think about the economy. I think about how to maintain . . . continue . . . preserve . . . this local economy that has proven to multiply a dollar faster and deeper into my community than any corporation ever could. I don’t crunch numbers, Grant, and I don’t have an economics degree, but there are some things I know to be true.
I wake up every morning to more foreclosures, more job losses, more businesses closing their doors, more threats to the environments, more homelessness, more of everything being broken and more injustices and more of everything just being plain wrong. “Geez, you must wake up so frustrated every day,” someone said to me recently when I explained what I do for a living.
One morning I woke up to an Adbusters (non)campaign called Occupy Wall Street. And that’s when I really WOKE UP. Have you, Grant? Have you really woken up yet?
Bob Dylan said, “Honey, ‘cause the world’s gone wrong.” It’s all gone wrong, Grant. The American Dream is now a common nightmare to my friends out there who are Occupying Wall Street. I know there’s nothing left for you to do or say, and I realize that maybe I got in over my head too, Grant. We were never right for each other were we? When I started to put more and more money into my underwater house, thinking it was my asset, you never tried to stop me. When I put it on the market for sale, why did you sit idly by while the price dropped to a rock bottom bargain basement number? And why, Grant, why did you not say anything to me when I moved out and said, “I’m done, I’m walking away?” Why didn’t you fight for me? It’s okay. You don’t have to answer. My friends all knew; I just wouldn’t listen.
I should have known it would not last because I am in the business of building relationships of people to their money. I help the community understand what it really means to have a dollar spent here, stay here. I work with other organizations that want good jobs, green jobs, and to close corporate tax loopholes so that we can keep money in our own state coffers for better education and healthcare. I want a level playing field for locally owned independent businesses. I think it’s clear what you want, Grant.
Thank you Grant, for whatever it was we had for whatever length of time it was you needed to get back your asset. I’ve moved on, but I can guarantee you that my friends have not. No, they will stay in the streets to protest you and your Bank until justice is served. I’ll be there with them, shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
I wish you all the best and hope you find your place in the new economy.
Vicki Pozzebon is Executive Director of the Santa Fe Alliance, a nonprofit organization working toward building a local living economy through community, local ownership and advocacy. www.santafealliance.com
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