Wells Fargo CEO Meets a Desperate Homeowner Facing Foreclosure, Flees

by on March 14, 2013 · 20 comments

in Activism, Business, Editor's Picks

Homeowner betty badro confronts WF CEO john stumpfBy Doug Porter

Wells Fargo Bank CEO John Stumpf’s keynote speech to the American Banker Retail Lending Conference on Thursday morning didn’t quite work out like he (or anyone else) expected.  Midway through his address, single mom Betty Badro calmly walked up on the stage to confront him over Wells Fargo’s foreclosure polices.

Ms. Badro, who has worked for the State of California for 22 years, attempted to deliver a personal check to the CEO, and tried to explain that she was hoping to forestall a scheduled foreclosure of her home tomorrow, March 15th. Not saying another word, Mr. Stumpf turned his back on Ms. Badro and left the stage.

After months of trying to get Wells Fargo to consider a loan modification, Ms. Badro explained she felt that going to the top man was the only way she could protect the lives of her disabled brother and one of her two children.

She got into trouble with the bank after suffering financial setbacks due to state furloughs and personal health issues.  Her finances have now recovered, a HUD-certified housing counselor has reviewed her case, and believes that Ms. Badro qualifies for a loan modification.

After the Wells Fargo CEO left the stage at the luxurious Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Badro was joined by fifty members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Home Defenders League, and Occupy Fights Foreclosures. The group attempted to explain to those in attendance how Wells Fargo has failed the community and the changes that Wells Fargo should make in their foreclosure practices. The audience followed Stumpf’s lead, packing up and leaving.

Thursday’s event was part of a broader campaign of ACCE and the Home Defenders League to push Wells Fargo to change their practices in order to reduce foreclosures.  The groups are calling on Wells Fargo to:

•    Make principal reduction a core front-end strategy when considering loan modifications;

•    Release data on race & income of the homeowners they foreclose on, evict or assist.

•    Stop all foreclosures and evictions stop until these steps are put into place.

On Tuesday ACCE released California in Crisis: How Wells Fargo’s Foreclosure Pipeline Is Damaging Local Communities, a report documenting the bank’s failure to negotiate in good faith with financially distressed home owners facing losing their homes.

There’s a happy ending to this story. Betty Badro was notified this afternoon that her foreclosure has been postponed indefinitely.

UPDATES: There are a few more tidbits to the story, including the Wells Fargo reaction in my story today.

Here’s a video of the confrontation:


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park. NEW: Ello contact @dougbob
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avatar Anna Daniels March 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm

On March 7, a man died in court while he was disputing Wells Fargo’s erroneous foreclosure of his property two years ago. http://tinyurl.com/aq6xpv5 CEO Stumpf is getting off too easy with public shaming (& a quick exit). Time to re-think too big to jail.

avatar AJ March 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Anna, thanks for mentioning this and providing a link to that (must read) article. I was sickened to my stomach when I first read it. They don’t tell you about these types of inhumanities in elementary and middle school while you’re busy obediently reciting the pledge of allegiance and believing that your fellow countrymen and women will have your back. It’s when you grow up that you realize what a crock of you-know-what that is! The worst part is the response of the Wells Fargo spokesperson to Larry Delassus’ death – which was that it was simply a matter of misfortune because he didn’t need to be in court that day anyway. When in guilt, blame the victim.

avatar bob dorn March 15, 2013 at 8:12 am

Let ‘em eat cake, right?

avatar SD March 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Please watch that video and share it. Help save our country from all Greedy Lying Bastards! Whether they are bankers, energy or oil, hoteliers, or govt agency accomplices that are fast establishing a United Slaves of America. Each of us can do something everyday to combat the rampant corruption.

The effect of this kind of activism is NOT wasted on those who are subjected to it. Somewhere in that conference crowd, one banker exec will succumb to their conscience and then another like a ripple effect in their undisturbed pond, because we are all human. And that is good.


avatar Eva Vargas March 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hadn’t she done that, FORECLOSESURE, that’s what she would be looking at today! BUT, she did what she had to do, she got mad and embarrased Wells Fargo, ceo John Stumpf (don’t deserve higher case). Thank you all who partificipated in this genius move.

avatar Goatskull March 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

These are reasons why I have opted not te become a homeowner. This is a situation that is not going to get better and I have come to the conclusion it’s just not worth it.

avatar John Lawrence March 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm

HAMP the Home Affordable Mortgage Program was a huge flop. Banks were supposed to renegotiate mortgages with underwater homeowners, but that provision of the Financial Stability Act of 2009 was made voluntary on the banks’ part. As a result the banks got bailed out, homeowners got sold out. Banks strung mortgagees along getting them to keep on paying in the hopes of a modified mortgage only to foreclose on them after having exacted the last ounce of their financial blood. Meanwhile, trillions of dollars were lavished on the banks and bank executives never took a cut in their exhorbitant income.

The Fed is still giving away $85 billion a month to the big banks as part of its Quantitative Easing program. It’s OK for the US’ central bank to give money to bankers, but to give money to average people is called ‘moral hazard.’

avatar Nicholas Thomas March 16, 2013 at 6:25 am

The San Diego Free Press report misrepresents what happened, from my perspective in the room. Ms. Badro and fifty-plus people had rented a meeting room at the hotel as a staging area, representing themselves as a business meeting. During Mr. Stumpf’s talk, they barged into the private meeting in which he was speaking with much noise and chanting, shoving meeting staff out of the way and threatening two of them with fists raised, and forced the meeting to halt. Ms. Badro, using a portable PA system carried in by the protestors, spoke to Mr. Stumpf who, at first, stood and listened to her. As the number of demonstrators increased and approached the stage from behind the stage and through ball room doors, he then sat down and listened, and then left the room. The demonstrators then marched and chanted inside the room for 30 – 40 minutes.

avatar Doug Porter March 16, 2013 at 8:27 am

Fists raised!? Is that the best you can do? Why didn’t you describe them as foaming at the mouth? Watch the video. And try to come up some better scary imagery for the next time you spin this yarn.

Of course they used a ruse to get into the hotel! Duh! Do you really think they’d get in the front door otherwise? They’re the little people, only suitable for plundering and exploitation.

Of course they were obnoxious from your point of view. I’m sure they’re sorry they ruined your morning coffee klatch…

To paraphrase Stephen Colbert talking about the bankster class…”Is this a great country or what? Anywhere else they would have been lined up against the wall and shot.”

avatar Virginia Mills-Barfield March 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

Thank you, Mr. Porter, for the response to this hilariously sheltered individual and for this article.

avatar TheHutMaster March 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Mr. Porter,

Thank you for publishing this article.

I work in Foreclosure defense and see these criminal scumbags at Wells Fargo, LIE, CHEAT, and STEAL, every day. Their staff are criminal Dirtbags that cannot even spell real-estate.


“Fight the Good Fight”
Every Minute, Every Day!

avatar TheHutMaster March 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Nicholas Thomas,

Are you one of the — security chimps in the room. IMHO, she should have smacked you down with her microphone, I know I would have.

We are comming for your type, prepare for jail man.

“Fight the Good Fight”
Every Minute, Every Day!

(edited by moderator)

avatar Patty Jones March 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Hey Hut, can we leave genitalia out of the discussion? Thanks!

avatar TheHutMaster March 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

Oh My, you make this criminal look like the victum? Jail this —- criminal, TODAY!

(edited by moderator)

avatar Virginia Mills-Barfield March 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

For five very long and stress-filled years, I have fought off a foreclosure from Wells Fargo. In 2002, after living on my own for years in apartments and being assailed by lenders with all the available options for first-time buyers, (now known as predatory loans) I bought the house my had father had built for us in 1960, but that we’d had to move from many years ago. It had come on the market for a pretty good price and I’d had no trouble affording it while working an average job or two. After a job loss in 2008, I was behind 3 months but had caught back up with large payments as requested and had signed an agreement for a modification before the foreclosure…but it was “lost,” somewhere in their offices. I was never told. I waited for my loan coupons to arrive in the mail so I could resume paying each month. Instead, I received foreclosure documents at my door. I immediately went to our area legal aid for defense help. I was bounced around this town’s discount legal community like a hot potato. Not once has there been a good-faith attempt on Wells Fargo’s part to modify the loan instead of taking another home. Not once in the past five years have they met with me, spoken to me, or my various pro bono attorneys, until forced to by the recent enforcement of foreclosure mediation. Even then, Wells Fargo refused to make any decision, wanting more time to consider, more documents that they already had in hand. It was just a stalling tactic, of course. Instead, they filed for a hearing of final judgement to foreclose. I tell the world about this because there was one way to solve the problem I faced. I didn’t consider bankruptcy, Chapter 13, to be exact. None of my legal helpers ever considered it either. Turns out, it was the only way. If I had filed 13 at the get-go, my house would have been saved, my payments would have been affordable and Wells would have had no recourse but to deal with me. This is what I want to tell every person facing foreclosure. If you want to save your home like I did, and not just walk away, there is no such thing as “Foreclosure Defense.” There is a whole huge new industry of legal advisors, lawyers, trustees, mediators- you name it- that want you and your meager income in this system, but I’m telling you, as the banks are not legally compelled to deal, they won’t deal. The courts are rubber stamping these foreclosures to expedite their workload. You have to save yourself and decide what you’re willing to do to save your home. After filing chapter 13, I now face 5 years more of stress- now from double mortgage payments. Since I waited so long to do it, I have 5 years to make up for on top of normal payments. Not worth it to most people. I just didn’t want to be one more resident in a motel who’d let Wells Fargo take my home. I applaud Ms. Badro. I wish I’d had the wherewithall to do what she has done. In every community, we must build a citizenry committed to defending homeowners in this situation. Without useful or serious help from regulators or the judiciary, we are the only resource we have.

avatar John Lawrence March 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The Obama administration was snookered by Republicans into letting HAMP be voluntary on the banks’ part. That was a huge mistake and no one is holding their feet to the fire on this. It just left homeowners twisting in the wind.

avatar TheHutMaster March 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Mr. Porter,

Thank you for publishing this article.

I work in Foreclosure defense and see these criminal scumbags at Wells Fargo, LIE, CHEAT, and STEAL, every day. Their staff are criminal Dirtbags that cannot even spell real-estate.


“Fight the Good Fight”
Every Minute, Every Day!

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