I have friends and family in the military and have the utmost respect and support for them. It’s not easy being away from your family, fighting for our country. The last thing an active duty military man or woman needs is worrying whether your lender is going to foreclose on you or hurt your credit ratings back home.
There are state and federal laws protecting our men and women serving in the military against financial institution blunders such was done against Brian Roach and Capt. Rowles. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects our military regarding credit card debt, mortgage payments, pending trials, taxes and terminations of lease, bankruptcy and evictions. There’s also the Heroes Keep Their Homes Act of 2010. Additionally, each state has their own laws protecting our military personnel as well.
If you are in the military, especially on active duty and having any problems with any of the above issues (credit card debt, mortgage etc.), or any other issues, call attorney Keith Gantenbein (303 618-2122). This is one fight you shouldn’t be fighting – your attorney will fight this one for you.
MARINE CAPTAIN OPENS CAN OF WORMS FOR JPMORGAN CHASE
Marine Captain Jonathan Rowles filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase. The Captain and his wife Julia were living a Chase nightmare when he went on active duty. Jonathan, an F/A 18 Delta fighter jet pilot was sent to Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar.
He and his wife Julie had never missed a mortgage payment on their home and kept making their payments at the 6% rate for active duty service members, a rate regulated by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Chase was wrongly charging the Rowles an adjustable rate of 9% to 10% that amounted to an overcharge as much as $900 each month. The captain called, emailed, complained and finally, Chase lowered the interest to the correct and legal 6%.
All went well for a little more than a year until they began receiving harassing collection calls claiming they owed $15,000. The collection calls came every, single day, 3 or more times each day. They frequently came at 3am while Jonathan was sleeping and a few hours before he had to report for duty. Jonathan explained he was in California and it was 3 in the morning but the harassing calls in the early morning didn’t stop. Jonathan explained, made calls, wrote emails, but the calls wouldn’t stop.
The collection calls escalated, they began threatening to take their house away and report the family. Jonathan didn’t owe anything and he still, had not missed a single payment.
The Rowles had all their paperwork and records showing they had made all their payments on their mortgage at 6%. They kept paying their monthly mortgage throughout the entire ordeal.
They repeatedly called Chase explaining the banks’ mistake overcharging them. The collection calls kept coming.
Completely fed up with the lack of response or any semblance of help from JPMorgan Chase, the Rowles hired an attorney and sued – for themselves and for all the other members of the military. Our active military should only worry about fighting the fight and staying alive, not whether their families are going to be put out into the street.
Rowle’s lawsuit alleged that Chase violated the law during his deployment by threatening to foreclose on his home, requiring him to verify his active duty status every 90 days for more than two years and aggressively went after Rowles to collect more than he owed on his home. The lawsuit alleged the bank’s failures deprived thousand of military men and women their rights under the SCRA.
After the Rowles filed their lawsuit, Captain Jonathan Rowles testified before a congressional panel. The lawsuit, his testimony and the investigations uncovered facts that Chase unlawfully and improperly foreclosed on as many as 14 military families and overcharged 6,000 servicemen and women.
After more than four years of legal battles, Chase admitted they overcharged thousands of American servicemen and triggered further investigations by a congressional committee and federal prosecutor.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the senior Republican on the Senate Banking committee, made this statement, “JP Morgan’s treatment of our military personnel is inexcusable. I expect them to make this right without any further delays.” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs has also started an investigation. Miller said “The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act has been in place for decades and I cannot believe that one of the nation’s largest financial institutions appears to be disregarding the protections offered by that law. If the allegations are true, this amounts to widespread abuse of our nation’s heroes and their families.”
Seven months ago, according to court documents, Chase was ordered to pay almost $6 million in refunds, Chase will also pay $12 million to approximately 6,000 service members, set aside $15 million to any other damages that may arise, remove derogatory credit reporting, reduce interest rates on loans for eligible borrowers from 6% to 4% and pay attorneys fees.
In a statement Rowles said he hoped the settlement would result in greater attention by the entire financial services industry to the nation’s laws that protect military families.
Rowles will receive an incentive award of $25,000 and become an informal adviser to Chase’s veteran’s advisory council. Julie Rowles has a separate lawsuit (pending) against Chase regarding the same issues.
This article is not intended as legal advice. The opinions of this article are solely the opinion of the author.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado foreclosure defense attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. His foreclosure defense practice includes foreclosure prevention, foreclosure assistance, loan modifications, short sales, and all other foreclosure defense legal assistance. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.