Woman gathers 10,000 signatures to plead with bank

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING

KING5.com

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 9 at 7:40 PM

SEATTLE -- A White Center woman delivered a petition to Bank of America Tuesday complete with 10,000 signatures, relying on the power of peer pressure.

Vera Johnson owns the Village Green Perennial Nursery. Her business is also her home. If she loses one, she loses both. She loses everything.

"We can't stand up to a big bank like this if we don't unite in numbers," said Johnson. "These signatures represent thousands of people."

Johnson is thousands of dollars behind on her mortgage. For 18 months she's tried to modify her loan and still no resolution. So she got a little help from friends and supporters, and gathered 10,000 signatures from supporters who want her to keep her business and home. Supporters like Kate McDermott:

"I think she's done what everyone wants to do and she's the first person who's right at the door knocking, right at the door saying, 'I'm here!'" said McDermott.

Johnson hand delivered her petition to the downtown Seattle Bank of America tower, pleading for a loan modification or at the very least, a sympathetic ear.

"It's been a long hard battle. I went through a divorce, I lost my mom and I'm not about to lose my house and my job," she said.

Jenn Dowell's name is also on Johnson's petition -- she works at the nursery. But it's always been much more than a job.

"The plants are there to breathe for you sometimes and you really have that sense of center when you're here," Dowell said.

After emerging from the bank, Johnson did not appear victorious.

"I just felt like an annoyance, like another person just turning in another form," she said. "I'm not going down easy. I just really hope people can piggy back on this and get the help they need and not get defeated."

Bank of America says Johnson's foreclosure proceedings have been halted. They say they now have all of her documents and should know within a few weeks if she qualifies for a loan modification.

The new Foreclosure Mediation Program requires lenders to mediate or counsel borrowers before foreclosure.

Bank of America does have a customer assistance center where borrowers can meet with home retention specialists. To schedule an appointment call the center at (206) 358-4338.

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