Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Insight: Spain's jobless immigrants take on banks over mortgages

(Reuters) - Every Tuesday evening dozens of homeowners who cannot pay their mortgages gather in a cramped community center near Madrid's main bullring to discuss strategy to fight their banks.

Newcomers, many of them immigrants from South America, take turns speaking about how close they are to eviction. They tell of losing their jobs, defaulting on their loans and receiving court notice saying they will be kicked out.

Veterans of the Platform of Mortgage Victims tell the new arrivals they will probably lose their homes but they also provide legal and psychological support to people willing to move out in exchange for the bank forgiving their loan.

Evictions, up to 200 a day, have become a symbol of Spain's 5-year economic crisis, started by a collapse in the housing and construction industry that put millions out of work.

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