April 22, 2011
Stars and Stripes|by Bill Murphy Jr. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Under the law, members of the military on active duty are entitled to reduced interest rates on some loans, along with protection from foreclosures and evictions, and other benefits.
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co., which admitted earlier this year that it had improperly overcharged thousands of military families on their mortgages and foreclosed on the homes of servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan, will pay $26 million to settle the class action lawsuit that brought the activity to light.
Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles and his wife, Julia, filed the suit, which accused Chase of ignoring the protections they were due under a federal law known as the
“We are sorry and regret the mistakes our firm made on mortgages for members of the military, and we’d like to thank Capt. and Mrs. Rowles for helping us address them,” Chase's chief administrative officer, Frank Bisignano, said in a statement announcing the deal. “We hold ourselves accountable and responsible for these mistakes, and fixing them is just the beginning of a new way forward with the military and veteran community as we make serving them a core part of how we operate our business every day."
“My family and I thank Chase for resolving this matter,” Capt. Rowles said in the same statement. “It is our hope that this settlement will result in greater attention by the entire financial services industry to the nation’s laws that protect our military families."
Besides the cash settlement, Chase said that in cases where it foreclosed on military homes in violation of the law, it will not only rescind the sales, but will also forgive all of the servicemembers' remaining mortgage debt.
Rowles, who is still on active duty, will become an adviser to Chase on veterans' issues as well, the company said.
This article is provided courtesy of Stars and Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.