Bank Of America Violated Law Protecting Active Duty Military, Lawsuit Claims

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Bank Of America Violated Law Protecting Active Duty Military, Lawsuit Claims

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Piggybankblog posted 08/17/12

Cross linked with huffingtonpost.com

One Alabama man who served in Afghanistan is claiming Bank of America violated a law that protects active duty service members from financial hardship.

Morgan Murphy alleges BofA began the trying to collect outstanding debts on his home and dinged his credit score during a period in which he was covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The law protects active duty service members and their families from foreclosure, eviction and other consequences that might result from not being able to meet financial obligations while serving their country.

Murphy’s lawyer, Romaine Scott III, told The Huffington Post that others have come forward with similar stories since he filed class-action lawsuit in July, though he has yet to determine exactly how big the class will be.

“Quite honestly I expect it to be a pretty large number of people,” Scott said.

That may not come as a surprise, given that financial institutions have illegally foreclosed on more than 300 active duty military in recent years, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office released earlier this month. The report also found financial institutions failed to properly reduce interest rates for at least 15,000 borrowers.

The Department of Justice announced an agreement last month with Capital One requiring the bank to pay $12 million to service members to settle claims that it violated the SCRA. Tom Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, told reporters on a conference call that the DOJ has identified at least 4,000 victims in the Capital One case and that they expect that number to rise. The violations include wrongful foreclosures, car repossessions, credit card interest rate concerns and more.

Murphy claims BofA threatened to foreclose on his home, hurt his credit score and modified his loan above the six percent limit guaranteed by the SCRA, among other allegations, all while he was covered by the law. The lawsuit claims Murphy was told by a BofA staffer that a notice had been sent to his home scheduling a foreclosure for this month. Murphy submitted an application for a temporary order to stop the foreclosure, and BofA responded saying no foreclosure date was scheduled, according Scott, his lawyer.

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Bank of America Removes American Flags Honoring Dead Marine

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OLDER ARTICLE SEPTEMBER 2009

Cross linked with captiansjournal.com

Greenville, South Carolina saw the arrival of a Marine who perished in Afghanistan, and Gaffney, S.C. was his ultimate resting place.

Only the faint sound of lightly marching feet could be heard as hundreds stood silent on the Greenville-Spartanburg International tarmac Wednesday while fully adorned Marines carried Lance Cpl. Chris Fowlkes’ flag-draped coffin.

The solemn arrival began an afternoon-long procession that ultimately wound through the streets of the 20-year-old Marine’s hometown of Gaffney, where businesses shut down and mourners lined the streets.

The homecoming came six days after the former Gaffney High School football player died in a military hospital in Germany from injuries sustained a week earlier in an explosion in the Helman province of Afghanistan.

Well-wishers waved flags, saluted and shed tears as an army of police cars escorted Fowlkes’ family along the 40-mile stretch from the airport to the town.

Lance Corporal Chris Fowlkes was a popular and well known young man in Gaffney, and a brave warrior who gave his life in the service of his country. It was seemingly a very heart-felt and patriotic funeral procession. But all was not well in Gaffney, S.C.

A South Carolina Bank of America branch is drawing criticism Thursday after an employee reportedly ordered the removal of American flags placed to honor a fallen Marine over fears that people would be offended.

The Palmetto Scoop received one eyewitness email claiming that the branch manager at Bank of America’s Gaffney branch at 1602 West Floyd Baker Blvd. “told a citizen who was preparing the route for a U.S. Marine killed in action in Afghanistan by placing small American flags along the roadway that the flags might upset some of her customers.”

Said the outraged tipster, “[The branch manager] took them down and made the citizen go in to get them if she didn’t want them thrown away.”

The flags were part of the funeral procession of Lance Corporal Christopher Fowlkes, 20, who died last week after an explosion in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

WSPA-TV has also received similar tips about the “flag flap.”

A teller at the branch confirmed to TPS that the branch manager had been there around the time of the incident but had left for the day.

Bank of America released a statement apologizing for the incident and celled it a misunderstanding.

“We want to ensure the community knows how deeply proud we are of the men and women who have sacrificed so much in service to our country,” the statement said. “The bank does fly the American Flag at our locations throughout the country and flags were displayed in front of our banking center in Gaffney the evening prior to our dedicated Marine returning home.”

UPDATE: WCBD in Charleston reports that Bank of America said the incident was a “miscommunication in corporate policy.” That raises the question, which policy would require employees to remove American flags that are part of a funeral procession for a fallen Marine?

One commenter says “You Lie.” The branch in Lexington [Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina, United States of America] refuses to fly the flag the tellers tell me they have on site. The flag pole has been naked for over 2 years now. It is a disgrace, and a poke in the eye.”

So should BofA rename their corporation to bank of Russia? Is it Bank of America, or is it not? With whose offense were they worried? Really. Who, exactly, would have come into the bank and demanded that an American flag be removed for a Marine who perished in Afghanistan? And why would Bank of AMERICA have cared?

What corporate policy was in effect? Was this a branch-specific issue, or is there a corporate policy that forbids the displaying of American flags for the fear of causing offense? Who was responsible for removing the flags? Has corporate policy been changed? If so, why was the policy in effect? If not, what is the justification for the policy? Will Bank of AMERICA issue a formal apology to the Fowlkes family first and then to AMERICA?

There are many unanswered questions concerning this ugly incident. I feel that it’s necessary for a BofA official to formally comment on this article to enlighten my readers.

In the mean time, my most sincere condolences goes out to the Fowlkes family. God be with you through this most difficult time.

Click the video tab below to see Chris Cato’s story on the bikers’ tribute.

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2 Comments

  1. JCMC says:

    Its OK for the banksters to do that. They are above the little people and above the law. The banksters do not subscribe to any morals or ethics that us little people hold so dear, so taking down those flags was OK too,,,,Right Bank of America?

  2. JCMC says:

    Its OK for the banksters to do that. They are above the little people and above the law. The banksters do not subscribe to any morals or ethics that us little people hold so dear, so taking down those flags was OK too,,,,Right Bank of America?

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