August 15, 2006
Real-estate agents and mortgage business
associates rallied Monday on Chicago's
Southwest Side against a law that went into effect this year aimed at thwarting
About 30 people, many carrying placards, gathered outside realty offices in the
4300 block of West 63rd Street
and marched several blocks to the office of Illinois House Speaker Michael J.
Madigan (D-Chicago), the sponsor of the bill that was passed last year.
The law calls for a four-year pilot program
during which certain borrowers in designated high-foreclosure ZIP codes would
have to get financial counseling before closing on a mortgage loan.
The ZIP codes 60620, 60621, 60623, 60628, 60629, 60632, 60636, 60638, 60643 and
60652 on the Southwest Side were chosen because research by the Chicago-based
Woodstock Institute, a housing research organization, showed that a relatively
large number of people who took mortgages on homes there were charged high
interest rates and fees.
"We are against the fact that they are targeting 10 ZIP codes," said
organizer Erika Villegas, a real-estate agent. "It's redlining. It's
making it harder for the people in these ZIP codes to buy homes."
About 20 men, members of local carpenters unions, held their own counter-rally.
The group contends the law helps to educate people and to ensure they are
qualified before they buy a home.
"There are some really aggressive Realtors out here that are selling to
people that aren't qualified," said Kevin O'Gorman, president of
Carpenters Union Local 141. "These homes become abandoned and the property
messy. It looks like hell, and it drives other property values down."