The Real Deal New York

Mortgage deal uncovers further bank misdeeds

March 04, 2013 11:00AM

Discoveries of misconduct among the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, prior to and during the foreclosure crisis, are continuing to add up, with the revelation that the nation’s biggest banks wrongfully foreclosed on more than 700 members of the U.S. military, the New York Times reported.

The improper foreclosures and home seizures were uncovered as mortgages continue to be analyzed as a part of the nearly $26 billion-dollar settlement with federal authorities. Analysts found that beyond foreclosing on military homes that were current on their mortgages, the banks also seized homes from nearly two dozen civilian borrowers who were making proper payments.

“It’s absolutely devastating to be 7,000 miles from your home fighting for this country and get a message that your family is being evicted,” said Col. John S. Odom Jr., a retired Air Force lawyer in Shreveport, La., who represents military members in foreclosure cases. “We have been sounding the alarms that the banks are illegally evicting the very men and women who are out there fighting for this country. This is a devastating confirmation of that.”

However, the banks, which include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, argue that the wrongful evictions make up an insignificant proportion of the millions of foreclosures under review.

The banks also contend that they had attempted to protect service members.

“Wells Fargo is honored to serve the needs of the men and women who defend our country, we take our responsibilities under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act very seriously and we regret any hardship that has been caused,” said Vickee Adams, a bank spokesperson. [NYT] —Christopher Cameron