Two lenders who wrongfully foreclosed upon active duty members of the military without obtaining court orders will provide more than $22 million in million in monetary relief under settlement agreements with the federal government.
BAC Home Loans Servicing LP — formerly known as Countrywide — will pay at least $20 million in the agreement to resolve allegations they foreclosed upon about 160 servicemembers between January 2006 and May 2009 without seeking court orders, said DOJ. They also agreed to pay any servicemember wrongfully foreclosed upon during that period.
Saxon Mortgage Services Inc. will pay $2.35 million to resolve allegations they foreclosed upon about 17 servicemembers between January 2006 and June 2009 without court orders, according to DOJ. They also agreed to pay any servicemember who was wrongfully foreclosed upon from July 2009 through 2010.
“The men and women who serve our nation in the armed forces deserve, at the very least, to know that they will not have their homes taken from them wrongfully while they are bravely putting their lives on the line on behalf of their country,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, said in a statement.
“The Civil Rights Division is committed to aggressively enforcing those laws that protect the rights of servicemembers,” Perez said. “All lenders have an obligation to do their part to work with servicemembers while these brave men and women focus on keeping us safe.
Countrywide knew, or should have known, about the military status of many of the people they foreclosed upon, according to DOJ. Some of the victims of Countrywide were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time of the foreclosure. The investigation started after the U.S. Marine Corps referred a case of an active duty service member facing foreclosure.
Saxon foreclosed on at least 10 servicemembers when they knew of or should have known about their military status, including members who served in Iraq who were injured or suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. DOJ initiated its investigation after Sergeant James Hurley resolved his claims against Saxon in a confidential settlement earlier this year.