Here we go again. Bank of America must pay a $30 million fine for violating consumer protection laws for military service members and engaging in improper debt-collection practices affecting military and non-military customers. At this point, is anyone reading this surprised at a bank like Bank of America taking advantage of military service members and military families? Sadly, and angrily, we are not.
It was not long ago we were reporting about Bank of America paying out $35 million to close to 290 military service members and co-borrowers for illegal foreclosures which lead to military families losing their homes.
[tweetthis]Bank of America Violates Rights of Military Service Members[/tweetthis]
In that case, acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery was quoted as saying, “These unlawful judicial foreclosures forced hundreds of service members and their families out of their homes. While this compensation will provide a measure of relief, the fact is that service members should never have to worry about losing their home to an illegal foreclosure while they are serving our country. The department will continue to actively protect our service members and their families from such unjust actions.”
And now we have this…
Bank of America Fined for Actions Against Military Service Members
In addition to the $30 million civil penalty the bank will pay to the U.S. Treasury, it has been ordered to provide remediation to approximately 73,000 military customers.
According to a report in the New York Times…
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said on Friday that Bank of America violated the rights of service members while also failing to establish safeguards to ensure that the bank was complying with a law designed to ease financial pressures on military members.
As part of a consent order released by the O.C.C. on Friday, Bank of America must bolster its oversight of military member accounts to help prevent further violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
The law limits, in some cases, how much interest banks can charge service members who are deployed. It also prevents, for example, lenders from repossessing deployed military members’ cars or foreclosing on their homes without a court order.
The report also accused Bank of America employees of lying when filing affidavits related to debt collections on military service members.
The O.C.C. also found that Bank of America used improper debt collection procedures involving both military members and civilians.
In trying to collect on debts, the bank’s employees filed affidavits that were said to be based on personal knowledge or a review of records when they were not, according to the O.C.C.