Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bank apologizes for overcharging troops for mortgages

Jeff Schogol  writes in Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — JPMorgan Chase & Co. is repaying more than $2 million to about 4,000 military families who were overcharged for their mortgages.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act caps servicemembers’ interest payments at 6 percent while they are on active duty, according to Military One Source.

NBC News first reported on Monday that the bank had overcharged the families in violation of the SCRA. The bank also improperly foreclosed on the properties of 14 of the families. SCRA mandates that banks cannot arbitrarily foreclose on property owned by active-duty military personnel or those in the first nine months after leaving active duty.

AdvertisementJPMorgan Chase said those 14 properties have been or will be returned to the owners.

Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, claiming it charged him 9 percent interest on his mortgage and then continued to insist he owed the higher interest rate even after the bank re-set his rate at 6 percent, according to NBC. So far, Rowles has been refunded part of his money, a bank official told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday.

The refunds come after a review that the bank launched several months ago into home loans to troops, according to a statement from JPMorgan Chase. The bank now has a team dedicated to military families’ loans.

“We made mistakes here and we are fixing them,” the statement said. “There is no finer group of people than the men and women in the armed services who fight to protect our country every day.”

The Defense Department’s director of the Office of Legal Policy said it appears that JPMorgan Chase has recognized its mistakes and is trying to fix them. “Anyone in the military who thinks he or she has a problem with Chase should go see a local legal assistance attorney,” Army Col. Shawn Shumake said in an e-mail.
Military families who have questions about their JPMorgan Chase loan can call 1-877-469-0110.

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