Major bank JPMorgan Chase admitted to NBC News that it improperly overcharged several thousand military families on their mortgages, including families of troops who are fighting in Afghanistan. In addition, the bank admitted it erroneously foreclosed on more than a dozen families.
Admission Stems from Lawsuit
NBC News recently conducted an investigation after learning about a lawsuit filed by Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles. In the lawsuit, Rowles, a Marine for five years and backseat pilot of an F/A 18 Delta fighter jet, along with his wife, Julia, said they had been battling Chase for many years over the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Under the law, active-duty troops are generally given mortgage interest rates as low as 6 percent. Also, the troops and their families are supposed to be protected from foreclosure.
The lawsuit claimed Chase violated the law and did not provide these protections to the Rowles. In fact, the family was overcharged up to $900 a month. Later, they were told they owed the bank $15,000 and received harassing collection calls at 3 a.m. threatening to take the house and report it to a collections agency.
After NBC News began its own investigation, the bank admitted it indeed violated SCRA on multiple occasions, leaving numerous military families, including the Rowles, under financial stress.
Troops to Receive Refunds
In an interview with NBC News, released on Monday, Chase said that 4,000 troops may have been overcharged when it recently “discovered it improperly foreclosed on the homes of 14 families.”
To fix the problem, Chase plans to mail a total of about $2 million in refunds to families that may have been charged at this beginning of this week. The bank insists that families that were improperly foreclosed upon have gotten or will get their homes back very soon.
Chase said that it has made a lot of mistakes over the past several years and wants to correct them, so for homeowners who are not automatically receiving refunds, the bank encourages them to come in and discuss their accounts immediately.
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