The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Live from Capitol Hill: House to Hear Testimony on SCRA Violations

This morning, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs is hosting a hearing on recent allegations that J.P. Mortgage Chase, one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders, violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, when it charged military families inflated interest rates and even foreclosed on 14 families. To view video of the hearing, Click Here.

AMVETS National Deputy Legislative Director Christina Roof is on hand for the hearing where military families wrongfully charged by Chase are scheduled to deliver testimony along side J.P. Morgan Chase Executive Vice President for Consumer Practices Stephanie Mudick.

To view a complete list of witnesses and to read their prepared remarks, Click Here.

Under SCRA, deployed service members may not be charged more than six percent interest on mortgages for the duration of their service. When families petitioned Chase for the requisite adjustments, the bank was unable to accommodate the requests, continuing to overcharge families, resulting in 14 evictions.

Chase acknowledged the error in January, saying they had erroneously collected more than $2 million, which the bank planned to immediately return to affected families. The bank also said they would work to return the 14 foreclosed families to their homes.

When news of the wrongful charges and foreclosures broke, AMVETS National Commander Jerry Hotop called the bank's actions "absolutely appalling," and called on Congress to act quickly to ensure this violation was not indicative of a broader problem within America's financial industry.

“That J.P. Morgan Chase could let this happen indicates to AMVETS that this could be a systemic automation problem across the industry or even a standard business practice,” said Hotop. “Our nation’s leaders must step in to ensure that our military families are not exploited further.”

To read AMVETS' full reaction, Click Here.

Stars & Stripes reported on the cold reception Chase received from members of the committee. Committee members said they knew of other examples of SCRA violations with major financial institutions and promised further hearings down the road to ensure veterans received the protections to which they are entitled under the law.

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