Monday, December 5, 2011

OCC Investigates Foreclosures of 5,000 Military Members

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) launched an investigation into the possible wrongful foreclosures of about 5,000 military members by 10 of the nation’s largest banks.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), signed into law in 2003, protects military members from foreclosure while on active duty. The banks may have violated this act by foreclosing on military members who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The OCC data is based on estimates by the lenders themselves and includes 2,400 foreclosures by Bank of America, 870 by Wells Fargo, 700 by Citigroup, and 575 by OneWest, according to OCC data obtained by the Financial Times.
Earlier this year, BofA agreed to a $20 million settlement regarding wrongful military foreclosures.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is taking initiative in investigating the newly discovered possible wrongful foreclosures, according to another Financial Times article.
Additionally, Rep. Brad Miller (D-North Carolina) issued a statement regarding the foreclosures.
“It is hard to see this as anything except a flagrant disregard for a law that has been on the books continuously since the First World War,” Miller said. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is an update of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940.
“The flagrant failure to pursue criminal charges in the face of flagrant violations of the criminal law is destroying American’s faith in their government and democracy,” Miller stated. “In a democracy, no one is too big to prosecute.”
Miller and the North Carolina National Guard are hosting a roundtable Monday to discuss financial protections and hardships for military members.
Holly Petraeus, assistant director of the Office of Servicemembers Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be present at the event.

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