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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.

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ARMs with the ability to refinance as a central feature and material inducement -- and that option is subsequently withdrawn to lock people in to uncompetitive loans -- that isn't "speculation".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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