Bank Of America Fined $30M For Violating American Servicemen’s Rights

Bank of America is in hot water yet again. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued Bank of America a $30 million fine for violation of service members’ rights. That’s right, Bank of America is in trouble for wrong action against American servicemen and women.

According to Consumer Affairs, Bank of America has been found to violate “the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects active-duty military personnel from abusive lending and collection practices.”

The Consumerist further explained, “since 2006, Bank of America took improper legal action against military customers for delinquent credit card accounts and overdrafts.”

Part of the “improper legal action” included employees who “asserted in affidavits that they had personal knowledge of the alleged delinquencies, when in fact they didn’t,” while other documents that Bank of America filed didn’t have proper notarization.

The large fine has been issued to Bank of America and the bank is expected to “make remediation payments to about 73,000 customers.”

When commenting on just what happened, Bank of America explained that “the action resulted from a ‘small number’ of credit card and overdraft payments that were in default and were not handled properly under SCRA provisions.”

Andrew Plepler, Bank of America’s Global Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Policy Executive, stated, “We have taken significant steps over the last several years, and will take further steps now, to ensure we have the right controls and processes in place to meet – and exceed – what is required by law and what our military customers deserve and expect.”

Plepler added, “The issues were discovered by reviews that began in 2011; since that time, Bank of America enhanced its collections litigation and sworn documents processes and enhanced controls around SCRA across the company.”

So what else must Bank of America do? Besides the fine and the remediation payments, Bank of America must “improve its SCRA-compliance policies and procedures for determining whether military personnel are eligible for requested SCRA-related benefits.”

Part of the policies and procedures that Bank of America must look at includes making sure the SCRA benefits are calculated correctly and that the status of servicemen and women must be verified fully before pursuing any kind of legal action, such as “default judgments on non-home loans.”

All of this comes after J.D. Power’s Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Survey found that Bank of America ranked extremely low, according to the Motley Fool, because of “poor customer satisfaction.”

[Photo Courtesy of Flickr]

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