Homeowner Hero's War on Banks

He calls himself a "bank terrorist."

CBS News Business Correspondent Anthony Mason reports Bruce Marks has introduced guerrilla tactics to the mortgage crisis - from running a sit-in at JP Morgan Chase to dropping furniture on the front lawn of Fannie Mae.

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In his campaign to help struggling homeowners restructure their loans, through a non-profit agency he founded 20 years ago, Marks has declared war on American banks. And it's personal:

"It's personal for the homeowners that are being victimized. We're going to make it personal for the CEOs," said Marks. "So we bring the mortgage crisis to their front door, and we are relentless."

National Assistance Corporation of America
Hope Now, Support and Guidance for Homeowners

This year, he led hundreds of protesters to the home of Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack. It paid off:

"I get a call on my cell phone 20 minutes later that we want to work this thing out," said Marks.

He's bullied the biggest banks into submission. They've struck deals with Marks' company: the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America that, over the past two years, has helped 100,000 people restructure their loans and get lower payments.

Mason said, "Some people say look, these people should not have been in homes in the first place. They can't really afford them."

"The problem is not who we made the mortgages too. It's the mortgage product," replied Marks.

Across the country, Marks organizes arena-sized mortgage counseling sessions which have drawn more than 300,000 people.

Why does he do it? As CEO, Marks earns $150,000 a year. But the root of his almost religious fervor may be the severe stutter he had as a child. Marks said it made him sympathize with others who were held back - whether because of poverty or race.

What some see as his fighting spirit, others say is a publicity grab.

"I've been called all kinds of things," said Marks. "So whether it's Robin Hood or bank terrorist or whatever - one thing people don't say is that we're not effective."

America's banks will testify Bruce Marks doesn't stutter anymore. They hear him loud and clear.

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"