Bank of America fined $30M for violations involving U.S. servicemembers

By Doug G. Ware  |  May 30, 2015 at 6:25 PM
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NEW YORK, May 30 (UPI) -- Bank of America has been hit with a $30 million fine for violating the rights of accounts owned by U.S. military servicemembers, officials said.

The violations reportedly involve 73,000 different bank accounts belonging to the military members, the New York Times reported.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (O.C.C.) said the bank violated the rights of servicemembers and failed to ensure it was complying with a federal law designed to ease financial stresses on those in the military.

The law, known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, seeks to ease financial strain on servicemembers as a mode to help them cope with other stresses brought on by military service.

The law limits how much interest banks can charge on servicemembers' accounts while they are deployed, and prevents banks from repossessing vehicles and foreclosing homes on soldiers without a court order.

Bank of America said the O.C.C.'s order affects a "small percentage" of credit card and deposit overdraft customers. The North Carolina-based bank also supposedly performed illegal debt-collection procedures on military members and civilians, the Times report said.

"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," Andrew Plepler, a Bank of America executive, said.

In 2013, the O.C.C. was involved in a similar investigation of JPMorgan Chase.

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