The Sound Alliance Foreclosure Prevention Assembly in May, 2011 brought together more than 150 people for an exciting wrap-up of its foreclosure campaign. Speakers included Washington State Treasurer James McIntire, a key ally in the Sound Alliance campaign, Bank of America regional executives and several state legislators.
The assembly celebrated the Sound Alliance campaign victory in pushing for the establishment of Bank of America’s first in-person customer assistance center in Washington state. This center addresses many of the concerns raised by Alliance leaders, including the need for face-to-face assistance, a single point of contact for homeowners, more timely responses, assistance offered in multiple languages, and staff with decision-making ability onsite.
The Seattle Bank of America Customer Assistance Center is the first center in the nation to have an underwriter onsite, which will result in homeowners receiving quicker responses to their applications for assistance.
The late Rev. Stephen Tellari (left) of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia asks Bank of America regional executive David Swartley if the bank will commit to a monitoring process to ensure the effectiveness of the customer center for homeowners facing foreclosure. (Photo by Wade Jarvis, UA Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 32)
The assembly also raised the need for accountability to ensure that the new center provides distressed homeowners with actual resolution and relief. Following up on an earlier written request to David Swartley, Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Bank of America, the late Rev. Stephen Tellari of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia publicly asked Mr. Swartley to commit to quarterly meetings with a team of Alliance leaders to monitor the effectiveness of the center.
Mr. Swartley repeated his earlier refusal to commit to such a process; however, Alliance leaders did not back down and announced that a Monitoring Team would be formed to track the effectiveness of the customer center.
Other highlights of the evening included Treasurer McIntire’s description of the Alliance’s work as the most inspiring he had seen in his years of public service, Alliance leader Randy Scott’s expression of pride in his union, UA Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 32, for the significant role they played in securing this service for the community, a moving personal testimony from Bank of America customer and Alliance leader Patti Irish, and enthusiastic commitments from Treasurer McIntire and state legislators Tina Orwall, Adam Kline, and Mark Miloscia to meet with Alliance leaders to discuss further ways to partner together to address the foreclosure crisis.
Sound Alliance leader Patti Irish talks about her experience trying to save her home and shares her challenges in getting assistance from Bank of America.
Congratulations to the Sound Alliance Housing Team and all who worked to contribute toward the success of the event.