Frank Jackson's Suit Against Banks is an Empty Gesture

Last week, everyone cheered as Mayor Frank Jackson announced that the city had filed a lawsuit against 21 banks for predatory lending. Finally, Cleveland was taking to task the thieves who that have turned our city into a ghost town, thanks to destructive subprime mortgages that have forced thousands into foreclosure. The only problem is that the lawsuit comes a few years too late, says Mark Seifert, executive director of the East Side Organizing Project, which has gone toe-to-toe with predatory lenders for the past decade. “This lawsuit would have been really timely three years ago,” Seifert says. Seifert points out that several of the banks being sued have already gone out of business, thanks to years of bad press and multi-million dollar settlements with Attorneys General. Ameriquest, once the city’s worst subprime lender, went out of business in August. And the day before the lawsuit was filed, City Bank announced that it was acquiring Countrywide, accused of funneling customers into bad loans simply based on race. “I don’t know how you sue somebody that’s out of business,” Seifert says…
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