Amid reports of big banks illegally foreclosing on the homes of U.S. troops on active duty, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is helping to lead a bipartisan effort to expand protections for servicemembers and more severely punish banking institutions that engage in illegal foreclosures.
"Our troops already make tremendous sacrifice in service to our nation-should they really have to worry about losing their home while they're overseas, fighting to protect our freedoms?" asked McCaskill, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This is a commonsense plan to give some sharper teeth to the rules protecting our troops and hold big banks accountable for their actions."
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects members of the military and their families from unfair penalties or foreclosure when their military service impacts their abilities to meet financial obligations, such as mortgages or car payments. However, in the past several years, big banks such as Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley have been forced to pay fines after taking illegal actions against active servicemembers.
McCaskill is backing legislation-the Military Family Home Protection Act, available on her website HERE-to expand protections for troops and their families to cover any servicemember engaged in a military operation, as well as 100 percent service disabled veterans and surviving spouses of troops killed on active duty. The measure would also bolster civil penalties for mortgage-related violations by big banks, force banks to designate an employee to ensure compliance with the law, and provide for a 12-month stay on foreclosure proceedings on any affected servicemember.
Similar legislation was approved earlier this year in the U.S. House of Representatives, receiving the support of several members of Missouri's delegation
McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran, has been an outspoken advocate for military veterans and was a founding member of the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus.