07 October 2010

Bernero shocks Economic Club by Blasting Banks over Foreclosures

The Detroit Free Press

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero stunned the Detroit Economic Club today with his forceful challenge to banks to halt home foreclosures in Michigan, and his call for the attorney general to investigate illegal foreclosures.

Bernero followed the more conciliatory Republican candidate Rick Snyder in answering questions in a forum three days before their first — and probably only — televised debate.

“If you are part of the Wall Street breed that runs over people for ever-growing profits and growing bonuses, you will have a problem, because I’ve had it,” Bernero said in his opening statement to a stony business crowd. “We’re up to here with it. Enough is enough.”

Bernero said news that some banks around the U.S. have erroneously foreclosed on homes or unwisely issued mortgage loans in the first place should prod Michigan to follow other states and block foreclosure proceedings or give homeowners a stronger hand to negotiate with banks.

Bernero said a priority as governor would be to withdraw $1 billion in state money from J.P. Morgan and Chase banks for their refusal to ease up on foreclosures and invest the money in Michigan-based banks and credit unions.

Bernero’s aggressive challenge wasn’t well received.

“Snyder talked about optimism and bringing people together, Bernero came out throwing blame,” said David Smith, a vice president of investments for Stifel Nicolaus. “He said the words Wall Street five times and ‘big banks’ 12 times,” Smith said.

“He starts making it a situation where you’re either working with me or you're not. That’s bully terminology,” said Bryant Goodreau, of First Independent Insurance.

Told of the “bully” complaint, Bernero appeared surprised.

“I didn’t think there was anything bullying about my comments,” he said. “I’ll tell you who feels bullied, it’s people that have been thrown out of their homes, especially by mistake, fraudulently. It’s 600 a day in Michigan, that’s who’s being bullied and that’s got to be stopped immediately, now.”

Mani Khavajian, 29, of West Bloomfield normally votes a straight Democratic ticket, but he's not so sure this year. He voted for Snyder in the Republican primary.

But he wanted to hear more from Bernero and Snyder on things like concrete plans for helping revive Detroit and immigration policy.

"But they both spoke very broadly. I didn't hear any solutions or plans on how to fix Michigan," Khavajian said. "This is the one time in my life where I've really had to stop and think about who I'm going to vote for."

He said he'll watch the candidates' only debate on Sunday to see if that vote will change on Nov. 2.

No comments: