JPMorgan overcharged military families, improperly foreclosed

[Update 1: Adds attorney and Iowa AG Tom Miller comments] JPMorgan Chase (JPM) overcharged roughly 4,000 troops on their mortgage and improperly foreclosed on 14 of the families, a spokesperson for the bank said Monday. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act last amended in 2003, lenders can be required to lower mortgage rates for active-duty military personnel to 6% and cannot pursue a foreclosure, but according to the report, Chase was slow to make the change for many of the families, charging Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles as much as 10% and hounding him with debt collection calls for as much as $15,000 in arrears, according to NBC news. The Rowles case against Chase is still pending, but the bank said it had made the mistakes and is trying to correct the problem. In an statement sent to HousingWire, Chase said it will be sending roughly $2 million in refunds to families that have been overcharged and will give back the homes that were improperly foreclosed. But Dick Harpootlian, the attorney representing the Rowles family said the refund is not enough. “These are people who are in active duty. These are people fighting for us. The suit is going forward,” Harpootlian said. “Chase got caught. It’s a good first step, but it’s not enough.” Major servicers are under investigation from regulators and the 50 state attorneys general for other problems in the foreclosure process. Iowa AG Tom Miller said in a statement sent to HousingWire that Chase disclosed the overcharges to him “very recently.” “I m concerned and troubled over JP Morgan Chase’s disclosure,” Miller said. “Our deployed men and women should focus on their deployment.  Neither they, nor their families, should have to endure this kind of financial distraction back home.” In December he did say a settlement compensating homeowners was one of many options on the table. “We made mistakes here and we are fixing them,” a Chase spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau said. The bank said it is reviewing how it services loans to military personnel, and it has implemented a team that works only for these borrowers. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAPrior

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