Anita Reyes-LeRey’s phone call to the Vice President at Woodlands National Bank, was four minutes late, and as a result, the Native American might lose the south Minneapolis home for which she and the Occupy Homes MN movement have fought.
Reyes-LeRey has owned her home for 17 years and has $50,000 in equity. She endured a series of financial and health setbacks when her job hours were cut and vertigo prevented her from making the 100 mile, one-way drive to work, prompting her to fall behind on her mortgage payments. Anita tried to negotiate a new mortgage with Woodlands National Bank in Onamia, Minn., which holds the mortgage, but was unable to do so.
Woodland’s National Bank Vice President Cindy Koonce, told Reyes-LeRey that she would do everything she could to help the homeowner. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson offered to look over Reyes-LeRey’s loan documents for the bank. She returned to work and earned more than enough to afford her mortgage. But to Reyes-LeRey’s shock, on the end date of her redemption period, Koonce called and told her she needed to leave her home.
With the help of Occupy Homes MN, Reyes-LeRey began building a public pressure campaign, including call-ins and a petition for Woodlands National Bank to renegotiate her mortgage and keep her in her home. The bank tentatively offered to rent her the home and, after two years, prepare a new mortgage so she could buy it back. The deal required an up-front $2,100 payment — an amount that Reyes-LeRey was uncertain she could raise the money but nevertheless did. But her phone call was four minutes after noon, and Koonce told her the deal was off.