10/14/2010 04:33 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Big Banks Will Clean Up This Mess -- When We Demand It

A generation ago, as children, many of us proudly took our roll of quarters to the neighborhood bank, and opened our first savings account, because we trusted the bank. We believed it was the safest and most reliable place for our money. Fast-forward to today and we can't be sure that the bank that is kicking families out of their home actually owns their mortgage.

As Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and others scurry to figure out if their foreclosure processes are in fact legal, it's clear we've reached a new low in terms of trust in America's big banks.

In the two years since the nation's largest banks were bailed out by the American taxpayer they have shown very little in the way of thanks. They can begin demonstrating some gratitude by rebuilding what they broke. First, all lenders need to prove that they actually own all of the mortgages for which they claim ownership and prove they are not guilty of fraudulently kicking families out of their homes. And we need to demand this of them. Then they need to immediately institute principal reduction programs to bring mortgages down to their real market value and provide long-term forbearance programs for families struggling with unemployment. This would be a good first step on the long road of regaining the trust of the American public. It would also demonstrate that they appreciate the hand up we gave them, and are ready to play a constructive role in moving the whole country, not just themselves, toward a real and sustained recovery.

Two years since the banks sent the economy to the brink, it is clear than anything less than the American people rising up and demanding action means that Wall Street will be let off the hook, again. We've been far too patient, too understanding and too flexible with the big banks when time and again they have proven that they cannot be trusted. The power is in our hands. This election season, demand that your lender prove they actually own the mortgage they claim and that they are not guilty of fraud. Then ask the candidates, which side are you on? The big banks that sank the economy, or the American people that are working to rebuild it? Then challenge them to prove it by demanding that big banks place a moratorium on foreclosures, reduce principal to market value to keep families in their homes, and demonstrate they are ready to do their part to fix what they broke.

To contact your lender, go to Where's the Note.