Banks Overcharged, Improperly Foreclosed on Military Families

The true extent of the foreclosure fraud perpetrated by the nation’s largest banks remains unclear, but recent revelations show that it includes overcharging and improperly foreclosing on the homes of American military families.  JP Morgan Chase admits it overcharged several thousand military families for their mortgages and improperly foreclosed on more than a dozen families.

The admissions come out of a lawsuit filed by Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles who has been in a fight with Chase for about five years.

Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active-duty troops generally receive mortgage interest rates around 6 percent and are protected from foreclosure.  The law is designed to protect service members and their families from financial distress while on active duty and in harm’s way.  But Chase apparently repeatedly violated the law.

To try and remedy the error Chase plans on mailing a total of about $2 million in refunds to those families overcharged, while those who improperly lost their homes have or will get those homes back.

Now if only the hundreds of thousands of Americans in similar circumstances were so lucky.

Rowles story is familiar to an astonishing number of Americans.  The bank began overcharging the family in error and then improperly sent the matter to a collection agency, despite the fact that the family continued to make payments.  Bank records show they were being charged rates above 10 percent, despite the contracted for 6 percent. 

While Chase insists the overcharges were a blip in their operations, the fact that Elizabeth Warren tapped Holly Patreaus to specifically work on consumer protection issues for military families suggests otherwise.  Lenders know the law, they just wont abide by it until forced.

photo courtesy of respres via Flickr


William C
William Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

I've consulted for Chase. They keep buying up other banks and pulling the customers into their web, but they fail to maintain one customer database on one computer system. It is the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing...and they just don't care until someone brings it to the attention of an outside agency that actually cares. I do believe that Chase should be made to pay for their blunders in a punitive way, but we all know whatever their fine...they will just get that all back in bank charges to the customer. As for the politicians, do you think Obama's Chief of Staff is going to do anything?

Pat C.
Pat C6 years ago

This is very unfair! It must be stopped.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

This is awful for service families, under stress already, but also, ALL families who have lost their homes, the biggest investment most middle-income families will ever have, is a dire situation. Banks should be made to undo all the damage they have done. They have the money -- they would just have to cut the top salaries and bonuses for a while.

A half year ago, I did the "move your money" thing, from Wells Fargo to USAA Federal Savings Bank, run by its members, essentially. One can also use a credit union. I just didn't want my money, paltry though it may, to be used by crooks anymore. All of them have done terrible things, but Wells Fargo has laundered drug money. My local branch has nice people, but I just didn't want to be part of the system anymore. I feel better now.

Suzanne B.
Sue B7 years ago

I have an idea, it is time that "we the people" start taking back our lives. So I propose this, for a period of 30 days, let's stop using our debit cards, credit cards etc. let us all go to our banks, take enough cash to get us through a month and then put the cards away. The best way to tame the beast is to starve it. No fees from pin based transactions, no fees from credit card purchases. I know it would be a pain in the butt, however, it is time for us to remind these banks, who have no regard for their customers, that without their customers, they will simply wither and die. This issue with military families is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many problems with this foreclosure mess, no one even knows where to start unraveling them. Instead of being a situation with a remedy, it is all clumped together into one big noise. The banks knew what they were doing when they broke the rules, they just banked on the idea that they would not get caught. Military families are easy pickings, most borrowers overseas, preoccupied with silly things like staying alive. Exactly who, in those circumstances, stops to notice that their interest rate has been inflated? With the current congressional makeup, we cant expect any help from Washington. It is time for us to stand up for what is right and let the banks know we wont be used, abused and taken advantage of anymore.

Karen F.
Karen F7 years ago

....and then our government took trillions of dollars and rewarded the banks because they were "too big to fail ... JP Morgan Chase is not alone in this huge money, power and real estate grab that's been going on and continues to go on under our noses. You don't have to be a military family to get raped by a bank but it sure sits wrong to have someone go overseas to fight to keep the banks rich and then put them out of their homes onto their own street corners here at home.
If they can fix these "mistakes" concerning a select few of the military families this happened to... (because it brings their tactics to the attention of the general public... which is always a big boo-boo because then people say,
"Hey, that happened to me, too. Hey! That happened to tons of people!) ...then they can fix this mistake for everyone else this happened to.

Will L.
Past Member 7 years ago

Banks are corporate pillagers.

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

No big surprises here. It's just terrible.

Doug G.
Doug G7 years ago

Military personnel and veterans are always been taken advantage of in this culture. Neither the government nor big business cares about these people. They are simply a "tool" in which big business can make billions off of and in which politicians can force other societies into playing their games.
The reasons given by government for the Vietnam War were bogus, but companies like Dow made a boat load of cash as did its shareholders.
How many of these vets are well off in the society for which they protected. The statistics show how this country really treats its servicemen and vets. It has always been this way.
Lots of fluff and window dressing, but NOTHING of real substance.
It would benefit anyone entertaining going into the military, to look at how business and government have treated servicemen and vets over the years, before choosing to be exploited by both of these prutred entities.