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FDIC Chairwoman Calls for Relief to Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

January 15, 2009

It is a “myth” that the economic crisis can be resolved without relief for homeowners facing foreclosure, Sheila C. Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said Thursday.

“Unless we intervene, many homeowners, and the surrounding neighborhoods and the larger economy will be hurt,” Bair said.

The FDIC is using “all available tools” to help troubled homeowners, she said, but added that a “fast-track, nationwide effort” is needed. With $25 million in government financing, 1.5 million families could avoid foreclosure, she said.

“When banks serve the long-term interests of their customers, they serve their own long-term interests,” Bair said. “…Banks for too long made loans to people who could not afford those loans. Now, we must all come together to make things right.”

Bair’s comments came during the 12th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit, which continues through Friday at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, 811 7th Ave.

The summit brings together corporate executives, political leaders, minority suppliers, and leaders from government, labor, the faith community and foreign nations. This year’s theme is “Fallout from the Bailout: A New Day in Washington.”

Bair was the keynote speaker at the summit’s One Thousand Churches Connected Ministers luncheon on Thursday. She also received a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award for the FDIC’s efforts to enforce laws that protect workers, consumers and homeowners.

Enforcing laws is crucial, Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of Wall Street Economic Summit, said before presenting Bair with the award.

“The Titanic did not sink because of wind coming over the deck,” he said. “Water came in from the bottom.” When the government enforces such laws as those ensuring equal economic opportunity, contract compliance and affirmative action, Rev. Jackson said, “that will stop the water from coming in from the bottom.”

One Thousand Churches Connected is an initiative of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition designed to bring the message of economic responsibility to families through churches across the country. The luncheon celebrated a dynamic year of progress and accomplishment for the Church and outlined best practices for continued economic empowerment through education and collective approaches to community stability and growth.

For more information about the summit, visit www.wallstreetproject2009. For more about RainbowPUSH, visit www.rainbowpush.org.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity For more information about the conference, please visit the organization's website www.wallstreetproject2009.org or call (212) 425-7874. To interview Rev. Jackson, please contact the media office at (773) 256-2714.

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