Chicago Protesters Target Mortgage Lenders
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A day after “Occupy Chicago” protesters and union activists teamed up for a large rally in downtown Chicago, jobs and the economy remained key issues for protesters at a number of events in downtown Chicago.
Catching corporate America’s attention is also a priority and, as CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, some demonstrators actually did that on Tuesday, outside one of the city’s largest banks:
The call for action continued Tuesday as protesters demanded the Chicago Realtors Association do something to protect renters living in foreclosed units.
It was the latest in a string of protests on Tuesday and they seem to be having an impact with at least some of the people that activists were protesting against.
From sit-ins to arrests right on the street, blocked roads and bullhorns – all of it happened outside the Mortgage Bankers Association conference at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Tuesday as protestors stopped traffic to make their demands of big business.
Those demands include calls to reduce housing loan principles and interest, for big banks pay their fair share of taxes and reinvest in the community by restarting small business lending.
Based on the number of people in suits watching the protests, it clearly piqued some lenders’ curiosity.
Asked what he thinks of the protesters’ opinions, mortgage lender consultant Carson Mullen said, “I think that it’s great that we have the right to protest in this country and that people can express their opinions.”
Mullen said he doesn’t take it personally that the protesters are targeting mortgage lenders, among others.
“We’re trying to solve the problems here, rather than create new ones,” he said.
Protestors got the attention of Chase Bank officials, too. Brighton park activists stood outside Chase’s offices in the Loop, asking that foreclosed properties be secured. They got a face-to-face conversation with a Chase spokesperson instead.
“We’re concerned about the neighborhoods,” Chase Bank spokesman Tom Kelly said, adding that Chase has done its best to help keep Chicago neighborhoods safe by securing foreclosed buildings that it owns.
Chicago police said that 16 people were arrested Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency protest. Another five were arrested at a protest outside Bank of America.