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The Story of a 99 Percenter

At Occupy Walnut Creek protest, a regular from Concord explains his problem with banks.

"I intend to be here as long as it takes to get some change," said Dan Ruxin of Concord on the 33rd Wednesday afternoon of Occupy Walnut Creek protests downtown.

Walnut Creek has one of the longer regularly scheduled Occupy protests in Northern California — perhaps the longest one that is unaccompanied by a record of arrests.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon (an hour after the usual start time), 10 protesters were out at Mount Diablo Boulevard and Main Street to protest inequities in our society.

Ruxin, 54, has a particular beef with banks. Foreclosure was staring his family in the face last December when they decided to sell their Walnut Creek house at a big loss and move into a rental in Concord. The bank refused to budge on the terms of the loan even as he explained his disability, with seven brain operations to correct hydrocephalus (water on the brain), Ruxin said.

The operations install and adjust ventricle peritoneal shunts that move water from his brain to his abdomen. Without the shunts, he suffers from altered gait, incontinence, short-term memory deficit and seizures because of hydrocephalus, Ruxin said.

Ruxin, an Air Force veteran, has service-connected disability benefits and a pension from a former job as a respiratory therapist.

On Wednesday afternoon, he alternated carrying three protest signs: "Spank Big Banks — Join Credit Unions," "I Don't Mind You Being Rich ... I Mind You Buying My Government" and "Cannabis is Medicine; Let States Regulate."

When he heard of the Occupy Walnut Creek protests starting last October, Ruxin showed up. He liked the idea of a broad movement with multiple messages, including the call for bank reform in the wake of federal government bailouts.

"Banks should not be able to gamble with people's money," Ruxin said.

Triple Canopy May 24, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Tell Mr. Ruxin that a mortgage loan is a legal contract. The bank is under no obligation to change its terms. Mr. Ruxin presumably signed on the dotted line a agreed to the terms and conditions contained within the contract. It was his obligation to execute those terms and apparently could not.
Daniel May 24, 2012 at 05:51 AM
The bank that carried the mortgage (Chase)was not the bank that the mortgagee signed a loan with(WAMU). Chase couldn't even prove they owned the loan(they did not have the actual signed loan documents) yet they have the ability to take the home away. Mr Ruxin didn't have the deep pockets required to take Chase to Court for proof of ownership so Short selling was his best option. Legitimate hardships take a back seat to corporate greed and the 99% occupy movement was born.
Lance Howland (Editor) May 24, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Perhaps apropos ... we have a blog post with a link to a list of current bank-owned properties available in Walnut Creek. http://patch.com/B-Sc7 -- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch
Steve O May 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Tell the bank that they must maintain all loans in house, rather than sell on the secondary market, and that the bank exists to serve the community as well as their stockholders. If an unsophisticated buyer is conned into a loan that is not affordable, who exactly is the culprit?
Jon May 24, 2012 at 03:36 PM
While technically correct, that is precisely the sort of cold-hearted, cynical response the characterizes the stance of most banks. I like to believe we live in a civilized society where we are accountible and responsible to one another. That we don't use the facade of a corporate shield to deny our humanity. This type of response is exactly what inspires me to join the 99% movement because it is time to stand up and redefine the type of society we want to leave to our children.
JClark927 May 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
"corporate greed" and "tax the rich" are the spin from one of the three groups responsible for the meltdown -- the government (the other two being a the financial services industry and the people). IMHO, government has been the least scathed of the three groups and are the most responsible. Taxing income over $X is not taxing the rich, it is taxing the productive. Net worth is the measure of wealth, not income. So if you was to improve government: put a cap on campaign spending for each office starting with $311 million for president ($1 for each person) and down from there. After all, aren't our leaders supposed to be able to manage a budget? Then ad a minimum tax based upon assets less liabilities for corps and individuals. Finally, also have a min income tax for all people above poverty level (so we no longer have 47% of households at zero income tax and a culture of government based on "someone else will pay for it" promises.)
michael frederick May 24, 2012 at 07:47 PM
First, let me say I agree with most everything the respondents offer. The root cause of the current banking situation is the banking industry. Fervently pursuing garbage loans, packaging them as AAA securities, and selling them-off in a trillion dollar game of musical chairs doesn't serve responsible banking, just greedy bankers. Daniel, I have a half dozen loans I took out with World Savings that were transferred to Wachovia, then WAMU, and finally Chase -- as these banks fell like dominos... However, the real root issue is the secondary market, as mentioned above and by Steve O. -- this is what really locks people into bad loans. The combination of changes in lending and dramatically reduced housing values (equity), in a market declining due to the same overly-restrictive lending, is what denies people the refi or home equity borrowing that was presumed, even promoted, when they took out their ARM, in particular. Having said all of that, Triple Canopy doesn't attack veterans with hydrocephalus because of their loan status!!! He does it for the same reason he villifies motorcycle fatalities in front of their loved ones. In other words, if TC's identity were known, he'd end up in a ditch somewhere. WCPD, in looking for suspects, would be left with: Women, minorities, teens against caning teens, Oakland, ... His interest doesn't extend beyond provocateur and I'm sure even the banking interests being criticized would cringe at him as a spokesman. He isn't.
Triple Canopy May 25, 2012 at 05:37 AM
The responses to my post are laughable. You people think that the banks owe you something. They do not... there is no "hardship" clause in a mortgage contract. It also appears that some of you think that there is an entitlement to real estate appreciation. Welcome to the market realities. Were there those who took ARM loans simply because it was sold to them on the premise that they could get out and sell before it kicked in? Probably. Gee whiz mortimer.... aren't those called "speculators". Accept that fact that you put down your bet and lost so quit trying to put the blame on someone else. No one put a gun to your head to sign the loan documents. And taxing your way to prosperity is like standing in a bucket and trying to raise yourself up by its handles. Equivalent to those on the left who think they can pick up a piece of poop by its clean end. LOL. And Mr. Frederick, I think you're a clown. No, there is no need to thank me.
michael frederick May 25, 2012 at 08:23 AM
TC, you are everything Democrats accuse Republicans of being ... which is why they keep winning elections. FYI, the alternative to "those on the left" isn't restricted to idealogical troll, as TC embodies. When the banks' agents, its sales team nationally, enthusiastically markets ARMs with the ability to refinance as a central feature and material inducement -- and that option is subsequently withdrawn to lock people in to uncompetitive loans -- that isn't "speculation". The applicable terminology is "Bait and Switch." Nothing better illustrates this idea of locking borrowers into punitive, uncompetitive, loans than the banks' insistence that borrowers requalify to address existing loans. In other words, someone who is current on their existing loan is denied based upon equity or credit risk in qualifying for today's lower competitive rates -- so they must continue to pay the higher rate. There is no risk aversion, as the borrower's ability to pay a lower rate and stay current is obviously better -- there's only the deception and greed that runs throughout this banking fiasco. Banks are not the 3rd grade examples of free enterprise that TC naively expounds upon. They are oligopolies that work, do business, and are totally dependent upon the Fed and the other quasi-governmental entities that dictate secondary lending and banks' ability to leverage assets / make $. The public has every right to demand fair treatment under the leadership of those we elect.
Daniel May 25, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I agree with you Michael. My credit was excellent when I first took out my loan with Ameriquest yet I was given a garbage (pick and pay) loan at a high interest rate. I had to pay a penalty 14K to get out of that loan into a better loan with WAMU. My beef with Chase is that they would not change my terms when the economy went sour. I could afford the current interest rate at the time (around 4%) but not the 6.5%. I attempted to negotiate with Chase twice for a loan modification and they refused both times (each loan mod. attempt took almost 1 year to have an answer) even though I could afford the lower payment. Since Chase serviced the loan but didn't own it they had no incentive to change my terms. The irony is that for what the house short sold for I could easily afford those payments.
Craig Bosse May 25, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Thanks Lance
Craig Bosse May 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I'm not a fan of the Banks either but luckily things have gotten better. I'm not sure how Dan sold his home, the article doesn't say whether it was a short sale or just a loss of equity. It sounds to me that he would have easily qualified for a short sale as this is a very legitimate hardship. In that case the bank would have absorbed most of the loss. Just a couple days ago I was made aware of a program by a portfolio lender (holds the loans in house) that will allow someone in this situation to buy again immediately if they have no late payments or after one year if they were late. I realize it's not the best situation having to move, but today it is much easier for people to get their life back on track after something like this.
eastbay48 May 29, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Daniel, you "were given a garbage loan"? Given? Did they force it down your throat or was it the one that looked the best at the time? Funny how everything looks great until the market turns or interest rates change or you actually read the fine print of what you are agreeing to.

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