WASHINGTON The mortgage chief of the United States' second largest bank was mobbed by angry borrowers on Tuesday after he invited customers to speak to him if they feared foreclosure of their homes.
The JPMorgan Chase & Co executive was at a congressional hearing in Washington when a lawmaker asked him who mortgage borrowers could turn to if they felt his bank's employees were not helping them hold onto their homes.
"Come to me," said David Lowman, chief executive for JPMorgan Chase & Co's home mortgage business in response to the question from Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank.
Minutes later, around 50 borrowers burst from the audience and presented Lowman with a 6-page document alleging his bank reneged on a pledge to help struggling homeowners.
The activist who organized the protest said Lowman did not want to talk and left the hearing.
"He ran. He ran like a dog with its tail between his legs," said Bruce Marks of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), which helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. "He was scared to death because he doesn't really want to talk to homeowners."
The incident is symptomatic of frustrations among U.S. homeowners as defaults and foreclosure filings dominate the housing sector more than three years after the property bubble began to deflate.
NACA organizes events where borrowers try to get loan modifications with lenders. The group says JPMorgan signed up to the NACA program but dropped out in December.
A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment on the complaint.
(Reporting by Corbett Daly, additional reporting by Al Yoon; writing by Andrew Hay)