Two congressmen from North Carolina are calling for a federal investigation of financial services institutions that allegedly violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by illegally foreclosing on active duty servicemembers' homes while some served in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., and Walter Jones, R-N.C., sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that cited the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) requirement to review some 5,000 improper foreclosures on military personnel by 10 mortgage servicers or banks that may be in violation of the SCRA. According to the congressmen, the OCC reviews – coupled with several civil lawsuits brought by the military personnel against the financial services institutions – suggest that many mortgage servicers were simply ignoring the SCRA when conducting foreclosures.
‘The SCRA is not some obscure legal technicality that might just have escaped the attention of mortgage servicers.’ Miller wrote. ‘Those servicers are all affiliates of the biggest banks, but they're huge and specialized. Servicing mortgages is all they do, and they really don't have that many laws to keep up with. They have got to have known what the law required, and consciously decided that they could just ignore it, the same way they apparently decided it was okay to file false affidavits in legal proceedings.’
However, the letter urges the attorney general not to publicly release violations of the SCRA in the midst of an upcoming settlement between state attorneys general, federal agencies and mortgage servicers arising from improper mortgage foreclosure practices. However, they reminded Holder's office that it could bring civil action to enforce the SCRA.
‘The continued failure to pursue criminal charges in the face of flagrant violations of the criminal law is destroying Americans' faith in their government and democracy,’ Miller added. ‘In a democracy, no one is too big to prosecute.’