Military class action suit
JP Morgan Chase has settled a class action suit for violating the nearly 70 year old Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which states that even when legal and in states that don’t require it, only a judge can authorize a foreclosure and only after a hearing where military members are represented. The law is in place to protect active duty military members from financial duress.
The lawsuit was brought on by Captain Jonathon Rowles who sued Chase Bank for a bevy of acts that violated SCRA including refusal to reduce his interest rate to six percent by the date required by SCRA and attempted to collect on account balances that didn’t exist.
Pending the judge’s approval, the settlement entails a $48 million payment by Chase to the class action suit for overcharging and falsely foreclosing on active military members, violating SCRA.
The $56 million breaks down to $12 million directly to the class action suit, $15 set aside for a case by case basis of payout, $6 million already issued directly to those who were overcharged, $6 million in additional benefits to borrowers wrongfully foreclosed upon, $8 million to pay plaintiffs’ legal bills with the remainder toward the formation of the Chase Veterans Advisory Council (VAC).
Overseeing SCRA enforcement
Chase has offered a leadership role in the VAC to Capt. Rowles and it remains unseen if other banking entities will take similar steps in overseeing enforcement of the SCRA.
We reported in January about Sergeant James Hurley going through his home being foreclosed upon by the Deutsche Bank while he was fighting abroad, violating the SCRA.
Frankly, violations of the SCRA are not the only atrocious violation by the banks, there are numerous wrongful foreclosures homeowners have gone through from banks foreclosing on the wrong address to simple misreporting of credit. The lawsuits are not over and although in this case was a settlement, others have been awarded by a judge. It will be interesting to watch as the banks are brought to task over their misdeeds.