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Mayor calls for campaign to shame banks

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl Monday suggested Evanstonians should try to shame banks into taking more aggressive action to solve the foreclosure crisis.

Speaking at the City Council meeting, the mayor picked up on an idea suggested by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin during an appearance in Evanston Friday to promote the $18 million federal housing grant won by the city.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl Monday suggested Evanstonians should try to shame banks into taking more aggressive action to solve the foreclosure crisis.

Speaking at the City Council meeting, the mayor picked up on an idea suggested by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin during an appearance in Evanston Friday to promote the $18 million federal housing grant won by the city.

While speaking with a homeowner facing difficulties selling her inherited property because of the depressed real estate market, Durbin said he’d suggested to residents in the Marquette Park neighborhood on Chicago’s southwest side that they should post signs on foreclosed properties criticizing the banks’ inaction.

And U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, suggesting that smaller community banks have generally been more cooperative than major banks during the crisis, said she’d taken some direct action herself.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said Monday she doubts the merits of putting up signs — suggesting they would only draw attention to the financial plight of some neighborhoods.

But Tisdahl responded that many of the properties are pretty obvious already, because they are boarded up.

Since the city now has federal funds to buy up as many as 100 abandoned and foreclosed properties for renovation into subsidized housing, the city has a financial interest in trying to drive down the prices banks demand to hand over housing units for the rehab program.
 

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