Bank halts evictions after second suicide

Bank halts evictions after second suicide

MADRID- Agence France-Presse
Bank halts evictions after second suicide

Lidia, a member of the Mortgage Victims’ Platform (PAH), sleeps outside Bankia’s headquarter as a protest against evictions, in Madrid. AP photo

A Spanish savings bank halted all home-owner evictions at the weekend after a ruined client threw herself out of a window to her death, unleashing anti-bank protests in the streets.

The decision by Kutxabank, a lender in the northern Basque Country, was unprecedented in Spain, where banks and homeowners have been financially crushed by a 2008 property crash.

It was the second suicide linked to the eviction of a financially distressed home owner in 15 days.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promised on Nov. 9 to offer proposals to ease the pressure on home-owners today in talks with the opposition Socialists.

“The president of Kutxabank, Mario Fernandez, has instructed that the entity should immediately halt all mortgage-related eviction procedures until the new related regulations are known,” the bank said on Nov. 10.

The suspension of evictions only affects loans on people’s primary homes, it said.

The previous day, 53-year-old former Socialist politician Amaia Egana committed suicide by hurling herself out of her apartment window “as the bailiffs were to evict her from her home,” Basque police said.

Her suicide came 15 days after 53-year-old Jose Luis Domingo hanged himself shortly before bailiffs came to turn him out of his home in the southern city of Granada.

After the latest suicide, hundreds of people demonstrated on Nov. 9 in Madrid and in the victim’s municipality of Barakaldo.

With cries of “Guilty! Guilty!” and “Shame! Shame!” the Madrid protesters denounced banks like state-rescued lender Bankia for continuing to evict homeowners struck by unemployment and the eurozone crisis.