Senator Jeff Merkley D-Oregon
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MASS) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that Senate Democrats have launched a new website inviting Americans to share their personal stories of being impacted by the foreclosure practices of Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary nominee, foreclosure king Steve Mnuchin.
"Donald Trump's choice of Mnuchin is not only a fundamental betrayal of his promise to stand up to Wall Street-it is a punch in the gut to the thousands of American families who were thrown out of their homes by Mnuchin's bank," said Senator Merkley. "The voices of these Americans should be heard loud and clear as the Senate examines his record and considers his nomination."
"After years peddling the kind of dangerous" mortgage-backed securities that eventually blew up the economy, Mnuchin swooped in after the crash to take a second bite out of families by aggressively -- and sometimes illegally -- foreclosing on their homes," said Senator Warren. "This man has engaged in the worst kinds of practices on Wall Street and directly hurt thousands of working families -- and now, Donald Trump wants to literally hand him the keys to the Treasury where he can make big banks even richer at the expense of America's families."
"During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump told the American people that he was going to change Washington by taking on Wall Street. But now that the election is over, Donald Trump's choice for Treasury Secretary is the same old, same old Wall Street insider who made a fortune during the financial crisis as millions lost their homes," said Senator Sanders. "If confirmed, Steve Mnuchin would be the third Treasury Secretary to come from Goldman Sachs in the last 17 years. That is not the type of change that Donald Trump promised to bring to Washington -- that is hypocrisy at its worst. The last thing we need is another Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs and another broken promise from Donald Trump."
As the CEO and owner of OneWest Bank, Mnuchin oversaw an operation that was called a "foreclosure machine," repossessing the homes of tens of thousands of American families between 2009 and 2015 and intensifying the economic pain of the Great Recession. Despite the fact that there were programs available specifically to help banks like OneWest work with families to modify their mortgages and keep them in their homes, OneWest instead pursued an aggressive strategy of foreclosing on families to rack up profits. OneWest executed 39% of all foreclosures on federally-insured reverse mortgages from April 2009 through April 2016, despite servicing approximately 17% of the market.
OneWest used illegal tactics like "robo-signing" -- falsifying key documents -- to create a wave of foreclosures that kicked more than 36,000 families out of their homes. In one case in Florida, OneWest foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman over a 27-cent payment error. In another case in Minnesota, a homeowner in a foreclosure dispute with OneWest came home in the middle of a blizzard to find that the locks on her house had been changed.
View the new website here.