Peaceful protesters shut down Bayview bank in name of homeownership

Getty Images File PhotoA peaceful protest in front of a Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco's Bayview district closed the branch for about two hours on Thursday.

A group of protesters who said they are fighting to protect homeowners shut down a bank Thursday morning in the Bayview district.

The roughly 25 protesters shut down the Wells Fargo branch at 3801 Third St. about 11 a.m. as part of a day of action organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Occupy Bernal.

The group is demanding that the bank stop foreclosures, evictions and predatory lending. An Occupy Bernal founder who goes by the name Stardust said, “We don’t want banks to rob more and more people of their homes.”

As of 1 p.m., the branch remained closed and about a dozen police officers who had been monitoring the protest were leaving.

Police said the demonstration was peaceful.

Stardust called the police presence “unnecessary” for the nonviolent protest, which included chanting, hanging crime-scene tape across the ATMs and chalking the sidewalk in front of the bank.

Oceanview resident Bernetta Adolph, 66, joined the demonstration as an 18-year city homeowner facing eviction. She said ACCE is helping her work with Wells Fargo to modify her loan, which she called predatory.

“They just want my home,” she said of the bank.

Organizers said the protest was part of a nationwide anniversary of the Occupy Our Homes movement.

Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said in a statement that the bank tries to sustain home ownership.

“Wells Fargo is part of the solution to help revitalize neighborhoods and support sustainable homeownership,” Pulido said. “Since January 2009, Wells Fargo has helped more than 812,000 customers with loan modifications.”

He said that at an event today and Saturday, the bank will begin granting $5 million in down-payment assistance to qualified homebuyers. The event will be held at the Oakland Marriott City Center at 1001 Broadway from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.

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