On June 13, 2023, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it had settled an action against a multi-family residential property management company for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) prohibition on imposing early termination charges when a servicemember lawfully terminates a residential lease after receiving military orders. … Continue Reading
On March 3, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against a towing company located near a Marine base alleging violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act’s (SCRA) prohibition against default judgments against SCRA-protected servicemembers. The case, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, alleges that the towing company failed to make a good faith effort to ascertain the military status of defendants before filing affidavits in court cases claiming military status could not be determined.… Continue Reading
On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) filed a complaint against the City of El Paso, Texas (the “City”) and several co-defendants alleging violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) for auctioning off at least 176 motor-vehicles owned by SCRA-protected servicemembers. According to DOJ, the actions taken by the City constitute enforcement of liens on the property or effects of servicemembers, which is prohibited under the SCRA without first obtaining a court order. … Continue Reading
On December 7, 2022, the CFPB issued a report recommending that creditors proactively provide Servicemember Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) interest rate benefits to eligible customers, bypassing the statute’s requirements of a written request from the servicemember and proof of military service. The report, titled “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Evidence of activated Guard and Reserve servicemembers’ usage of credit protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” highlights the underutilization of the SCRA’s interest rate benefit by eligible servicemembers.… Continue Reading
On July 29, 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a notification letter (the “joint letter”) to “remind” auto lenders and leasing companies of the protections provided to servicemembers and their dependents under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The joint letter provides a very basic overview and reminder of the vehicle repossession protections, early vehicle lease termination rights, and interest rate cap available to eligible servicemembers under the SCRA.… Continue Reading
On April 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Steve’s Towing, Inc., located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043, for alleged violations of the SCRA’s prohibition against enforcing a storage lien on a servicemember’s vehicle during, or within ninety days after, a period of military service without a court order. … Continue Reading
The Department of Justice recently entered into a settlement with BayPort Credit Union to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by charging unlawful interest to servicemembers and repossessing vehicles owned by servicemembers without first obtaining the required court orders. As detailed below, the consent order requires BayPort to pay compensation to servicemembers who were charged unlawful interest and whose vehicles were alleged to have been unlawfully repossessed. … Continue Reading
The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA) (S. 1605) currently awaiting President Biden’s signature does not contain several proposed provisions that members of the consumer financial services industry had opposed.
Specifically, the NDAA does not contain provisions that would have:
- Expanded coverage of the Military Lending Act’s 36% “all-in” rate cap to all consumers
- Placed additional limits on the use of arbitration in contracts with servicemembers
- Imposed new requirements on the reporting of adverse information on servicemembers by consumer reporting agencies
The NDAA does contain a provision (Section 6207) that expands the coverage of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protections dealing with the termination of residential or motor vehicle leases and telephone service contracts. … Continue Reading
On Monday, the CFPB and DOJ announced that they sent joint letters to landlords/property management companies and mortgage servicers regarding the protections given to servicemembers by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
In addition to amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act dealing with the reporting of adverse information on servicemembers by consumer reporting agencies, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as passed by the House and now headed to the Senate includes amendments to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that restrict the use of arbitration agreements and waivers of SCRA protections.… Continue Reading