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House committee investigates wrongful military foreclosures

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will request foreclosure documents from 10 major mortgage servicers as part of an expanded investigation into possible mishandled foreclosures on military service members. The ranking member on the committee Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has been pushing committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to subpoena these companies to move his investigation forward. In June, Issa asked Cummings to present "a clear case" before any such action is taken. Cummings gave a statement before a committee hearing, commending Elizabeth Warren and Holly Petraeus for building an emphasis on educating service members into the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's plans. Several banks have installed programs and whole divisions to ensure military service members are treated fairly under current law. Cummings made his case at the hearing, pointing out that when banks overcharged military families millions of dollars on their mortgages and improperly foreclosed on some, an investigation should have been launched. Issa said at the hearing the committee will inquire in different ways to the servicing companies. Some of them have already responded to Cummings' initial requests for documentation. "Additionally, we’re going to make a request to the Veterans Affairs committee who has apparently done quite a bit of discovery, which is why we thought much of this was already done – bring that together and then see where we go from there," Issa said, though no plans for subpoenas were given. Cummings requested emails, internal investigations, audits and reviews dating back to January 2006. But Issa sent a letter to Cummings late Thursday stipulating details of the agreement. The committee will send letters to the 10 servicers seeking documents necessary for them to understand the failures and what remedial measures have been put in place to prevent such failures in the future. "Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your cooperation" Cummings said. "We just merely trying to zero in on this problem, and I know you share my concerns and all of our concerns, and so I really appreciate this." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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