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Occupy Protesters Take Over SF Wells Fargo Branch To Denounce Foreclosures

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Occupy demonstrators and housing advocates briefly took over a Wells Fargo Bank branch in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood Thursday as part of a protest denouncing foreclosures.

Around 11 o'clock, one protester distracted security while three dozen more invaded the bank on the corner of 3rd Street and Galvez Avenue to string yellow foreclose tape all over the interior and shut it down.

KCBS' Doug Sovern Reports:

To avoid arrest when about two dozen police officers arrived, the group then staged a noisy rally outside.

Chiropractor David Lewis described how he and his wife, a flight attendant, lost their home when Wells Fargo foreclosed on it while they were seeking a loan modification.

"We found out that our home had been sold to an investor at auction on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving," he said to loud jeers directed at the bank.

Banks will be forbidden from foreclosing on a home while loan modification procedures under the California Homeowner Bill of Rights that takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

Lewis said his story is not uncommon. Wells Fargo countered that some individuals simply cannot afford their homes, even with substantially reduced mortgages.

Organizers said the San Francisco protest was part of a nationwide anniversary of the "Occupy Our Homes" movement.

Another bank protest was planned for 4 p.m. today at the Wells Fargo at 1221 Broadway in downtown Oakland.

Wells Fargo spokesman Ruben Pulido said in a statement that the bank tries to sustain home ownership.

"Wells Fargo is part of the solution to help revitalize neighborhoods and support sustainable home ownership," Pulido said. "Since January 2009, Wells Fargo has helped more than 812,000 customers with loan modifications."

He said that at an event on Dec. 7 and 8, the bank will begin granting $5 million in down payment assistance to qualified homebuyers. The event will be held at the Oakland Marriott City Center at 1001 Broadway from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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