Berkshire Barber Heads Up Occupy Wall Street’s ‘Banks Need to Take a Haircut’ Campaign

Steve Vilot

Steve Vilot

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Steve Vilot, the colorful owner of Sim’s Salon and Barber Shops in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, will be leading a force of hundreds of barbers who will be descending on New York City and other ‘Occupy’ communities on Monday, October 24, 2011, in a national campaign called “The Banks Need to Take a Haircut.”

Vilot’s army of barbers will visit Occupy Wall Street and other “Occupies” to dramatize the need for big banks to provide debt relief to homeowners and consumers in order to stimulate the sluggish economy.

The event is being created and channeled through Vilot’s 4,000-barber Facebook group in coordination with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together.

Each “Occupy” will set up at least six stools with barbers and capes printed or painted with the logos of the biggest six banks: JPMorganChase, Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Occupiers and/or supporters dressed as bankers will get haircuts as activists explain what it means for banks to “take a haircut” on bad loans and how it could provide immediate relief to American families from crushing debt on mortgage loans, student loans, credit card loans and other consumer debt.

Sim's Salon and Barber Shop in Great Barrington, Mass.

Sim's Salon and Barber Shop in Great Barrington, Mass.

In banking, when a lender has to accept that a loan will not be paid back in full, the lender must then write the loan value down for a loss. This is called taking a “haircut.”  Bankers don’t like haircuts – but they treat the 99% and the 1% differently.

When faced with losses by homeowners or consumers, they play hardball. They threaten homeowners with foreclosure and report the borrower to the credit agencies, damaging their credit rating.

But with bigger, richer borrowers like corporations, bankers routinely agree to negotiate haircuts and other changes in loan contracts, since refusing to do so could cause the borrower to file for bankruptcy, causing even bigger losses and jeopardizing future business (and the lucrative fees) from corporate borrowers.

According to organizers of “The Banks Need to Take a Haircut,” big banks need to take a haircut: they should provide immediate relief to American homeowners, families and students by writing down the value of underwater mortgages and unbearable consumer and student-loan debt.  This would reduce monthly loan payments for millions of Americans, providing immediate relief to household budgets and helping economic recovery.





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