From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

JPMorgan-Chase settles military class action

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This is a little bit off-topic (just a little), but the case of Marine Corps Capt. Jonathon Rowles, and the class-action suit which he began, has been a particular burr under my saddle since I first heard of it. Apparently, JPM-C has finally done the right thing and offerred to settle, but the fact that they got into this mess in the first place says a lot about their practices.

In short, the Servicemens Civil Relief Act provides for certain protections against overcharging, fraud, and egregious foreclosure during periods when the servicemember is fighting overseas and unable to defend him or herself in the normal due process. Note that debts aren’t forgiven, but mortgage loan interest cannot exceed 6% during such time of service, and certain collection and foreclosure actions are prohibited.

To say that JPM-C ignored the SCRA is apparently an understatment. Capt. Rowles repeatedly informed the bank of his active duty status, and made timely payments based on JPM-C’s own 6% calculations. Nonetheless, they apparently failed to credit him with the proper payments he made, and initiated collection and foreclosure actions against him and his family. For more details on the issue, read the court filings here.

Fortunately, Marines don’t scare easily, and Capt. Rowles and his attorney filed a class action suit on behalf of all service members similarly treated by JPM-C. Seeing the handwriting on the wall (the suit was filed in South Carolina — one of the most pro-military states imaginable), a settlement was forthcoming. For details on the settlement, click here.

Sadly, this class action ONLY covers servicemembers. One has to wonder how many similar stories come from the civilian population?

Written by johnkilpatrick

May 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

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