Resisting foreclosure in Spain
Locksmith Iker de Carlos: 'It took us only 15 minutes to reach a decision. We all had stories of jobs we had been on where families had been left on the street.'
He is a locksmith who refuses to open locked doors; neither will he replace their locks with new ones. What may seem a disastrous strategy for Iker de Carlos, a 22-year-old Spaniard starting out in the world of cylinders, pins, bolts and lock springs in his home city of Pamplona, is actually part of a growing civic rebellion in support of the biggest losers in Spain's five-year story of failing, mismanaged banks – those being thrown out of their homes after falling behind on mortgage payments.
Tired of accompanying court officials to evict unemployed people as banks foreclosed mortgages, De Carlos consulted his fellow Pamplona locksmiths before Christmas. In no time at all, they came to an agreement. They would not do the dirty work of banks whose rash lending pumped up a housing bubble and then, after it popped, helped bring the country to its knees.
"It only took us 15 minutes to reach a decision," says De Carlos amid the racks of keys in the family's shop in the centre of this small northern city best known for its annual bull-runs and the adoration heaped on it by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. "We all had stories of jobs we had been on where families had been left on the street. When you set out all you have is an address and the name of the bank, but I recall an elderly, sick man who was barely given time to put his trousers on."
Good for them!