Posted by troublemaker on December 5, 2011
We hear a lot about big bank bail outs. What we hear very little about is why those big banks deserve those bail outs. If the banks were on Santa’s lists, which list would they be on this Christmas? If they are on Santa’s naughty list, did they really deserve the present they got from we tax payers? With respect to JP Morgan-Chase, Bank of America, and CitiBank I think you will agree they have all made the naughty list. Each has not only stretched foreclosure laws, they have broken them. In some cases, the laws being broken can be punished with jail time. In other cases, even members of the US congress have been clear that they believe such foreclosures have led to the suicides of our fighting men and women (1).
“I would call it homicide…” – Congressman Bob Filner of California (1)
JP Morgan-Chase admitted to illegally overcharging thousands of service members and evicting some service members despite the legal protections provided in the Service Members Civil Relief Act. Congressman Bob Filner claims he can show at least one suicide which was directly related to the illegal actions of JP Morgan-Chase. Although the Congressman “would like to file a charge of wrongful death” (1) and although the law provides clear penalty for the actions of the bank executives, no charges have been filed.
“(1) MISDEMEANOR.—A person who knowingly makes or causes to be made a sale, foreclosure, or seizure of property that is prohibited by subsection (c), or who knowingly attempts to do so, shall be fined as provided in title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.” Penalties listed for SMCRA violation (2)
Despite the huge legal teams that banks maintain for the purpose of foreclosing on people’s homes, JP Morgan-Chase was not the only one to ignore the protections provided to US service members.
Bank of America was found in violation of this same law and ordered to make restitution by the Department of Justice (3).
CitiBank / CitiGroup / CitiMortgage – A suit filed against CitiMortgage claims that not only was a service member’s home taken and sold without court hearing, but that to accomplish this action CitiMortgage lied in sworn affidavit claiming that the service member was not in fact in the military. (4)
The basic concept of the Service Members Civil Relief Action (3) is simple. While service members are fighting for their country, they should be given a fighting chance in the court system. Because duty often prevents a service member from attending court hearings, matters are tabled until such time as the service member is capable of being present for hearings in matters like foreclosures. Additional provisions limit the interest rate that can be charged, but there is no provision to excuse debt. Its simply says that a bank must wait a bit to take action against a home when the owner is away serving his country. Is that really so much to ask?
Evidently it is too much to ask. While you might be thinking these banks have made restitution, consider the fact that no course of action was taken until they were caught. Now ask yourself, if you robbed a bank and got caught would you expect to be forgiven if you simply made restitution?
As these executives who made these illegal decisions are not being held accountable to the law, it is us to we consumers to cause their shareholders to hold them accountable. Send a clear message. If you own a credit card issued or associated with these or other unethical banks, cut it up. If your mortgage is with any of these or other unethical banks, refinance through a local credit union.
Each of these banks is expecting to cash in on the fees associated with Christmas time credit card spending. Deny them your hard earned money, send a clear message and Occupy Christmas!