Do we still have to pretend that this isn't one in a series of egregious and illegal acts by JP Morgan Chase in the mortgage foreclosure process -- or are we still pretending none of these things are connected? Just asking!
One of the nation's biggest banks — JP Morgan Chase — admits it has overcharged several thousand military families for their mortgages, including families of troops fighting in Afghanistan. The bank also tells NBC News that it improperly foreclosed on more than a dozen military families.
The admissions are an outgrowth of a lawsuit filed by Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles. Rowles is the backseat pilot of an F/A 18 Delta fighter jet and has served the nation as a Marine for five years. He and his wife, Julia, say they’ve been battling Chase almost that long.
The dispute apparently caused the bank to review its handling of all mortgages involving active-duty military personnel. Under a law known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active-duty troops generally get their mortgage interest rates lowered to 6 percent and are protected from foreclosure. Chase now appears to have repeatedly violated that law, which is designed to protect troops and their families from financial stress while they’re in harm's way.
A Chase official told NBC News that some 4,000 troops may have been overcharged. What’s more, the bank discovered it improperly foreclosed on the homes of 14 military families.
“We are deeply appreciative of those who fight to protect our country and Chase funds a number of programs that provide benefits to military personnel and veterans, and while any customer mistake is regrettable, we feel particularly badly about the mistakes we made here,” Chase chief communications officer Kristin Lemkau said in a statement to NBC News.
She said that beginning this week Chase will be mailing a total of about $2 million in refunds to families that may have been overcharged. She says most of the families improperly foreclosed on have gotten or will get their homes back. A bank official described what happened here as “grim,” but emphasized the mistakes were inadvertent, not malicious.
Really? Are we talking about the same JP Morgan Chase, the one that illegally foreclosed on Florida homes, screwed the Denver school system, rigged municipal investment contracts, is being investigated by the SEC for rigging some CDOs, is alleged by a whistleblower to have fabricated and/or destroyed credit card records of customers, and bestowed us with President Obama's new chief of staff?
"Inadvertent," my foot.