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Fresh off their great Scrooge-like work on the bankruptcy bill, the credit companies are back at it again - now they are illegally dunning our soldiers:

Sgt. John J. Savage III, an Army reservist, was about to climb onto a troop transport plane for a flight to Iraq from Fayetteville, N.C., when his wife called with alarming news: "They're foreclosing on our house." Sergeant Savage recalled, "There was not a thing I could do; I had to jump on the plane and boil for 22 hours."

He had reason to be angry. A longstanding federal law strictly limits the ability of his mortgage company and other lenders to foreclose against active-duty service members. But Sergeant Savage's experience was not unusual. Though statistics are scarce, court records and interviews with military and civilian lawyers suggest that Americans heading off to war are sometimes facing distracting and demoralizing demands from financial companies trying to collect on obligations that, by law, they cannot enforce.

Shocking isn't it?

Update [2005-3-27 23:1:38 by Armando]: And it is happening a lot more now. Why?

One reason they are surfacing in unlikely places is the Pentagon's increased reliance on Reserve and National Guard units that do not hail from traditional military towns, said Lt. Col. Barry Bernstein, the judge advocate general for the South Carolina National Guard. When these units are called up, he said, their members find themselves facing creditors and courts that may never have dealt with the relief act.
That's why.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 07:57 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This... (none)
    pisses me off...
  •  Is this true about Fox News? (2.33)
    At dinner with friends this past weekend and the discussion turned to our collective displeasure with the current state of politics in this country.  One of the attendees is a reporter for a major financial magazine.  He says that it is widely known in media circles that Fox News gives conservative guests ample prior notification as to content and agenda (including names of other guests) for shows.  Progressive guests, on the other hand, are usually sent in with the barest of information or, essentially "cold."
    Posted late in previous thread... would appreciate help.  Thanks.

    As much as I hate Fox, I expressed my skepticism... just could not believe that the progressive guests would not have blown whistle already.  I pressed for information, but could get nothing more than things like "well-known Fox policy" and that Fox is careful to maintain adequate deniability.  Another attendee said that she had heard this also, but not in mainstream media.

    Has anyone heard of this?  If there is any truth to it, I think it could be a bombshell - Fox news no more real than staged wrestling kind of stuff.

    Please share if you have info or links.

  •  No, It's Not Shocking (none)
    It's outrageous, but I'm really not shocked at all.
  •  Contact all the Dems... (none)
    ...who voted for the Debt Peonage Act, and let them know what kind of people they have been shilling for. And also let them know that we plan to let everyone else know that those Dems backed those companies.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 07:59:43 PM PST

  •  Kind of ironic (none)
    That you might have to go in harm's way to actually have some government protection from predatory lendors.

    Reservists with state employers (teachers, cops, etc) seem to do okay with the reemployment parts to the SSRA, but I've seen several people lose businesses they ran.  It's pretty sad to watch someone do the right thing and still get screwed.

    "... the best of us did not return." Viktor Frankl

    by RMeister on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:03:50 PM PST

  •  OT: utter confusion (2.00)
    I'm starting to get really irritated with the dichotomy between the Scoop-adjusted post times and update time-labels. Is there anyway a tag can be added where Scoop will adjust a time posted in an article (for example, an "Update" tag) based on user preferences?

    If you're confused:


    by Armando
    Sun Mar 27th, 2005 at 19:57:51 PST


    Update [2005-3-27 23:1:38 by Armando]:

    a minor thing, but worth posting about. ;)

    There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

    by Sandals on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:05:08 PM PST

  •  bankers driving suvs with (none)
    little plastic magnet ribbons are very patriotic. no?

    i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

    by rasbobbo on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:05:45 PM PST

  •  friends, we have an opening (4.00)
    the unbelievablly callous disregard of the credit card companies and their puppets in the government for the wellbeing and dignity of military families, on top of all the other shit they're being forced to put up with (no armor, substandard mess halls, an impossible mission, exposure to DU, being forced to pay for phone cards, etc.), gives us a crystal clear image with which to beat back the bankruptcy bill (and do good at the same time). if we raise hell about this, and turn their hollow "support the troops" slogans against them, we might be able to raise enough awareness on this to derail the house bill (or else get an amendment in to make this kind of thing illegal), and then get the senate dems to block it the next time around.
    •  Where's the f**king hearings? (none)
      Contrast this crap to f**king steroids in baseball. WTF!
    •  OK! (none)
      You may have something there?

      Please inform me?

      I have no idea about the others on this board, but if there is some way we can communicate let us do so.

    •  Where are the dems on the armed services committee (none)
      Seriously, I wonder why someone like Carl Levin hasn't made any comments/statements on this?

      How about the people on the commerce and banking committee?

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by Cordelia Lear on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 11:05:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's already illegal! (none)
      but that doesn't help you if the courts are unfamiliar with the law. (see the update)
      •  You may have (none)
        some courts and some small creditors unfamiliar with the act, but major banks (like Citigroup) ARE familiar with the Act.  I recently had a client who had discharged in bankruptcy loans from KeyBank.  Yet, KeyBank was still debiting from his checking account interest on the discharged loans.  HELLO?? They knew the loans had been discharged. It took three letters from me (the last being a threatened motion for contempt, to be served on their local branch naming their local Vice-President, time to be served in the local pokey, with the bankruptcy judge in full agreement) to get them to STOP.  Even their local COUNSEL could not get them to STOP.  The national headquarters just ignored us.

        National banks, like Wells Fargo, know about the law, they just don't CARE.  You not only have to get a court order, you have to get a judge willing to enforce it by throwing someone in JAIL and get media attention before they will stop.  I was utterly astounded.  So was the judge.

        I feel very sorry for reservists and active duty personnel who are not aware of their rights and are getting screwed royally, especially by the big banks who know better, but figure it's up to the servicepeople to raise the defense.  Hey, if they don't raise it, it's found money to the banks.  I know there's a special circle in hell for these people.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 09:58:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Letter to Senator Cornyn (none)
      This is a potion of a letter I faxed to Senator Cornyn  - we don't have the luxury of a democratic senator here in Texas - today:

        "I am also concerned about the lack of respect for our servicemen shown by the credit industry, which is demonstrated by an article in this morning's New York Times. An example of the industry's abuse cited by the Times occurred in Texas:

          At Fort Hood, Tex., a soldier's wife was sued by a creditor trying to collect a debt owed by her and her husband, who was serving in Baghdad at the time. A local judge ruled against her, saying she had defaulted, even though specialists say the relief act forbids default judgments against soldiers serving overseas and protects their spouses as well. . . .

          When Sgt. Michael Gaskins of Fort Hood, Tex., was sent to Iraq last April, his wife, Melissa, was left to cope with a dispute over a delinquent loan from the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital credit union; the couple took out the loan just before Sergeant Gaskins enlisted in November 2001. When the credit union took the couple to court in Texas last year, a military lawyer at Fort Hood alerted the local judge that the new relief act required that the case be deferred because Sergeant Gaskins was abroad.

          But on Feb. 18, a county court judge in Gatesville, Tex., ruled that Mrs. Gaskins had lost the case by default. She was ordered to pay the credit union more than $6,000 and turn over the family truck, which secured the loan. Colonel Odom, who is also representing the couple, is trying to have the default judgment overturned, in part on the ground that the relief act protects spouses as well as service members.

          The credit union in Tallahassee, Fla., disputes that. "It's our position the act does not protect her," said Palmer Williams, a lawyer for the organization. Judge Susan R. Stephens, the county judge who signed the default judgment, said she did not think that Mrs. Gaskins had ever invoked the relief act but said she would review the matter when it came before her.

          I am not complaining about the state Court.  The Judge appears willing to correct her mistake.  I am complaining about callous disregard for our troops by an industry that seems to be able to get whatever it wants out of our current Congress.  At the very least, congressional action on the Bankruptcy bill should be stayed pending further investigation of abuses like those cited by the Times.  The Bankruptcy bill should be amended to protect our troops.  I cannot understand why a proposed amendment which would have done so was soundly defeated.  Please act to show Texas citizens and servicemen you represent them and their interests, not those of the credit industry."

      •  Need More Dems (none)
        When did you send this?

        I'm still  very disappointed in Cornyn's vote on the Bankruptcy Bill.  With the exception of one amendment to the bill, all other amendments proposed to help veterans and active duty military personal, he either voted no or didn't vote.

        --chris alluvus.com

        by AmBoy00 on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 02:27:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a fucking crock of shit (4.00)
    I read about this in my small town newspaper today.  The family in the article, Army reservist Steve Welter, his wife and two daughters, had to fight to save their family home from foreclosure.  Keira Welter wrote her husband in Iraq letting him know what was happening.  She contacted the Attorney General's office and members of Congress but received no help until a local television news station picked up her story which prompted Senator Pat Roberts, R Kansas, to intervene.  Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Company finally backed off and withdrew the forecloser notice.

    In the same article they referred to another reservist family whose home was saved the day before they would have been foreclosed on.  

    It was stated in the article that most companies understand the law about active duty servicepersons but that smaller banks are often not 'enlightened' about the law.  

    Wouldn't Wells Fargo be shocked to learn they are amongst the small loaning institutions of our fair land and thus excused for not being on top of the laws for our servicemen and women?

    Absolute executive power absolutely tortures.

    by caliberal on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:09:41 PM PST

    •  Wells Fargo (none)
      I've heard their name mentioned frequently in claims of predatory lending.
    •  Wells Fargo (none)
      Has always served as a good target for populist agitation.  
    •  3 ID's & a fingerprint for a $200 check... (none)
      Give me a break and if at all possible give Wells Fargo the fingerprint. I will NEVER go in a Wells Fargo Bunk again!

      Tip: Next time you get cash from ANY bank take their cash to the manager and ask for a marking pen... make sure it's real.

      I used to do it to the tellers but then realized they were just doing their $8.50/hr job... ergo, they feel like sh*t already.

      PS - Good luck to you youngin's... as you'll probably need it.

      PSS- Happy Easter.

      "There is no such thing as a weird human being. It's just that some people require more understanding than others." - Tom Robbins

      by SteveK on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 10:09:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wells Fargo was mentioned in KC (none)
      Recently we had a case where the home of an active duty National Guardsman was on the forclosure block. The forceclosing creditor, it was rumored, was Well's Fargo.  The forclosure was cancelled as soon as the story hit a local television station (which wouldn't identify the bank.) A local bank spokesman said so sorry and bowed deeply.  The name of the bank was not mentioned. Don't want to offend anybody.
  •  unbelievable (4.00)
    this is outrageous!
    we should contact Sen. Orin Hatch and get this loophole closed immediately.
    how dare these soliders not pay their obligations
    didn't they hear this is now an ownership society??
  •  Someone should draft a law (4.00)
    that forces mortgage companies to suspend your mortgage for as long as you are on active duty.

    As soon as you sent them a copy of your orders, your mortgage should go into suspended animation until you return from duty. This is the least we can do for these people.

  •  and so (none)
    one does not have a mortgage default in just minutes. This is a process by which time and time is given on getting up to date on payments. To say a soldier is on his way to Iraq and oops...we are being forclosed is a stretch. Further, why oh why are individuals surprised that our -GOBMENT"  does not support them after a sacrifice?

    Come on folks..it is sad..but reality.  No surprise here..and so it goes..Learn that you can give for your country..but expecty NOTHING in return.

    When the president does it that means that it is not illegal."   --  Richard Nixon

    by WWWWout on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:14:36 PM PST

    •  a good point (none)
      but realize that such a blanket statement cannot possibly cover all the various situations where a Guard member is being foreclosed or somesuch..

      Besides which, it is nonsensical to foreclose on a solder going to war, who will presumably be getting paid for it.

      There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

      by Sandals on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:34:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They will be paid (none)
        but if they are Nat'l guard it will be nothing compared to what they were making.
      •  You can not foreclose on soldier on active duty (none)
        This has been law since 1940 and recently updated and expanded in 2003.

        http://usmilitary.about.com/od/sscra/l/blscramenu.htm

        •  Yes you can (none)
          I don't believe anything in the SSCRA prevents a secured creditor from filing a lawsuit to foreclose on real estate. The creditor cannot default the soldier without following the procedures set forth in the SSCRA.

          Interest rates go down to 6% for the period the soldier is on active duty if their ability to make payments is materially affected by their military service. So, if they have a good job, enter into a contract, and get yanked away to military service, the contract payments get reduced. However, if they are out of work, sign up for the military, then ship out, their ability to pay hasn't been materially affected by military service, in fact their ability to pay has improved, so they don't get a break on the interest.

          Soldiers must satisfy the following before being entitled to protection against foreclosure:

          1. Obligation must have existed prior to entry upon active duty;
          2. Ability to meet financial obligation materially affected by active duty;
          3. Action filed during or within 90 days of soldier's period of military service.

          If those three factors are present, the court can provide the following relief:  
          1. Stay proceedings until members are available to answer;  
          2. Extend the mortgage maturity date to allow
          reduced monthly payments;  
          1. Grant foreclosure subject to being reopened if challenged by soldier, and
          2. Extend the period of redemption by a period equal to the member's military service.

          A good resource is available in PDF format at:
          http://www.ncbar.com/lamp/jdg_guide.pdf

          I'm a needle in the vein of the establishment.

          by mhojo on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:49:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Keep in mind that many of these (3.50)
      reserve and national guard soldiers are mobilized several months prior to deployment.

      What does that matter you ask? One day you are making $60,000 -$70,000 a year and then you get mobilized and your income drops by $30,000. The Soldiers and Sailors relief act is supposed to protect these soldiers when this happens and as everyone can see it is doing a bang up job.

      Just a reminder, the same darn thing happened during Desert Shield/Storm. The more things change as they say.

      Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither. (Paraphrasing B. Franklin)

      by p a roberson on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 04:20:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dunning Our Troops (none)
    Another reason is that the economically driven war and administration, doesn't respect old civilian alliances. It used to be that only lower and underpriveledged classes had to deal with these kind of issues.
  •  Dunning Our Troops (none)
    First outsourcing, now treating homeowners like inner city apartment dwellers. Whats next?
  •  When i was in (none)
    basic training i recieved a mail demanding i pay my college loans. Being in basic training, getting 5 hours of sleep a night longterm and spending my days being screamed at and doing intense pt i had other things on my mind. So i stuck it in a drawer and went to bed. I had to be awake in five hours to run a few miles, do two hours of exercise then eat breakfast and start the day. Of course they defaulted the loan. I had no idea at the time that they couldnt legally do that but by the time i learned my credit was ruined. Something i still pay for.

    So while i trained to fight a war aimed at protecting and spreading capitalism the world over.. the capitalists were busy screwing me.

    Gotta love Capitalism.

    The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

    by cdreid on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:22:19 PM PST

    •  Wonder what the break down is between (none)
      the guard and reserves vs. shall we say -  the regular military.

      Some of this is really a matter of these folks making so little that it is difficult to make ends meet.

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

      by Cordelia Lear on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 11:02:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's da problem? (4.00)
      Only one my bruddah!

      The Democrats didn't do this to ya! As YOU imply in your message "The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)"

      And, if Democrats actually had a say in it, there would be no war today!

      Because, besides being true and faithful as all U.S. Marines are. Democrats are diplomats, they know when talk is in this country's best interest and they have enough intelligence to know what to say.

      •  yes, who did they vote for? (none)
        what did they think would happen? that Bush would take care of them? this is how you take care in the Republican party.
      •  If you didnt notice (none)
        the post was aimed squarely at the rampant theo-capitalism (aka quasifascism) that governs america today. And that both parties march in lockstep to the drumbeat of.

        And btw... Democrats lined up just as readily as republicans to vote for Bush's oil war.

        The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

        by cdreid on Tue Mar 29, 2005 at 12:16:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Like so many other things (none)
    Your rights are only protected if YOU know about them.
    His chain of command should, by the regs, given him a legal brief about this law, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.  There should also have been a JAG from his command detailed to clear these issues.

    "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

    by soonergrunt on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:24:32 PM PST

    •  I got a better idea (4.00)
      Why not have the military notify all creditors identified by the soldiers that the soldier is on active duty and that this law kicks in.

      I think the soldiers have enough to worry about.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:29:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have an even better idea (3.50)
        a person on active duty in a war theatre, Armed service-Guard-or Reserve, gets his credit (and
        any charges) frozen until he gets back.  This even gives the corporations a reason to finish
        the damn war.
        No mortgage bills, no student loan collections, no credit card bills, etc.

        Is the holy symbol of Solipsism a banana peel?

        by nargel on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:54:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That wouldn't be a bad idea (none)
          Don't get rid of their debts--they (we) entered into them fairly, we should get out of them fairly, but it's the last thing Joe Snuffy should have to worry about when his pay is inevitibly fucked up AND he's being shot at.

          "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

          by soonergrunt on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 09:18:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And I specified (none)
            "war theatre" on purpose so they couldn't play those "it is/isn't a combat zone" games and
            it would be a simple one-stop-shop checkbox.

            Is the holy symbol of Solipsism a banana peel?

            by nargel on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 09:35:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Edit: Should include (none)
              time spent in medical from injuries sustained in those areas as well.

              Is the holy symbol of Solipsism a banana peel?

              by nargel on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 09:42:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sample law idea (none)
                Any member of the armed services, or any civil servant of the Federal Government, or accredited members of the Red Cross or the United Service Organization who have been or are within sixty days of deployment or transfer to an area designated by the Secretary of Defense as a hazardous duty area shall be...(fill in the intent of the law with respect to the legal description of loans, leases, interest payments, etc)
                Further, any member of the aforementioned military branches, civil servants, or service organizations who are wounded or injured in the course of their official duties in such a hazardous duty zone...(fill in the intent of the law with respect to the legal description of loans, leases, interest payments, etc)
                These protections shall expire sixty days upon return to CONUS for active-duty personnel and civil servants, or resumption of employment, consistent with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act for military reservists and volunteers of the Red Cross and the USO.
                Nothing in this act shall be construed to permanently discharge, in whole or in part, a debt, excepting such instance as a violation of this act proved in a court of competent jurisdiction by  (legal term for banks, mortgage companies, creditors), then such debt shall be discharged in full, in addition to civil penalties not to exceed $10,000 plus reasonable attourney's fees and court costs.

                I'm not a lawyer, so one of you legal-eagle types would have to pretty it up some.

                "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

                by soonergrunt on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 10:07:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Definition of "hazardous duty area"? (none)
                  As per my comment upthread, I feel "combat zone/h.d.a." games would let them define the
                  coverage way too narrowly.  Let parts of their corporate base have a real solid intrest in the
                  end of the war to counterbalence the parts that have a stake in dragging it out.

                  Is the holy symbol of Solipsism a banana peel?

                  by nargel on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 10:33:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Currently there are several HDA (none)
                    Like the Sinai (although I was on a six month long drunk there,) Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and areas surrounding Iraq.  I don't know what the criteria are for creating one, but HDA are defined as areas where Hazardous Duty--Immanent Danger Pay (used to be called Hostile Fire Pay) and Combat Zone Tax Exclusion are in effect.

                    "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

                    by soonergrunt on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:18:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I loved Sinai! (none)
                      Same with me, a six month drunk but that was '86 before all the troubles.  This really doesn't surprise me at all.  I've been fighting the VA since 2002.  It just goes to show me that all of this "support the troops" is a load of hypocritical crap.  The SSCRA needs to be revised and updated.  It really, really irkes me to see college republicans rallying at UVA with "support the troops" and hasseling college dems.  I finally went up to one, showed my ID card (NG), and said,"Great, you support us!  We are undermanned and need all of the support we can get, why don't you come to drill with me and I can put you in touch with our recruiter".  He didn't have any "talking points" to answer that one.
                      •  I love doing that very thing (none)
                        "Come join the war on terror, because I need soldiers, not cheerleaders.  Unless, you think that fighting for America is someone else's job?"
                        The lame excuses pile up.

                        "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

                        by soonergrunt on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 06:55:11 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Exactly! (none)
                          His reply was a very lame: "uh, um, uh, I'm supporting the troops with what I am doing now" or some sort horsesh*t.  Then I gave him the zinger: "oh, so, like our VP during Vietnam, you have OTHER priorities".  Then more "um, uh, um, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada."  I love exposing the hypocrisy of these f**king chickenhawk cowards!  Even on a one to one level, doesn't help in the national scheme of things but it sure gives me satisfaction to do my little part!  You're right, we need soldiers, not cheerleaders (I love that, may steal it for next time).
                •  This is even better! (none)
                  While any member of the U.S. armed services is on active duty he/she shall be under NO DEBT OBLIGATION!

                  Upon eventual return, any such obligation shall acrue at half value (1/2) until the second year of his/her return to home.

                  •  Let's not go too far (none)
                    Of course, I could use all that stuff, but you start to get even further into areas like mercenaries instead of soldiers if you give too much.  Besides, I never for one moment felt that I deserved a great deal.  Don't get me wrong, I like to be appreciated as much as anyone else, but I am getting paid already.

                    "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

                    by soonergrunt on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 12:10:45 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  In my Brigade (none)
        an extensive brief is conducted on the two laws.  The Brigade JAG details two officers to handle these things, and all three military bases in the state are asked to help out.  Soldiers are given form letters and postage-paid official mail envelopes--as many as one asks for--to send to creditors.  A crew of retirees handles outreach to the employers, as well as the soldier's chain of command.
        We've been doing this for a while, you see.  This up comming deployment to Afghanistan will be my third as an OK guardsman, and the seventh to which OK guard has deployed soldiers since 2000.
        One thing the National Guard needs to get better at is sharing information about this kind of stuff with other states and Major Commands.  Of course, this is also another symptom of the fact that the army isn't built for these kinds of long-term, high-tempo, multi-theatre operations.  It's hard to get everyone, to coin an army phrase "on the same sheet of music" on something like this, when leaders at all levels are dealing with the myriad things they have to deal with to get a unit deployed.
        The only problem with having the military do this is that it's a huge undertaking.  Think about it--how many credit cards do you have?  Do you have a car note in addition to a mortgage?  Any revolving credit?  The military just doesn't have that kind of staffing at the state/MACOM level.

        "Michael Savage is the concience (sic) of the conservative movement"--Free Republic Poster

        by soonergrunt on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 09:16:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Banks are ignoring notification (none)
          My Sunday paper had an AP article by Sam Hananel on this, "Reservists' families fight for protection from creditors".

          It focused on a specific case--Steve and Keira Welter from Kansas and Wells Fargo.  They "appeared" to follow all the rules.  Mrs. Welter first sent a copy of her husband's duty orders to Wells Fargo in August.  The company claimed it was never received.

          She kept calling the company to explain. "I mentioned the law every single time, and every single time I was told 'We don't know what that is.'"  Wells Fargo started foreclosure proceedings in February and it wasn't until Sen. Pat Roberts intervened that the company finally backed off.

          Kevin Waetka, a spokesman for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage said the company has special procedures in place for active duty soldiers that its employees are supposed to follow.  He said, "What this isolated incident has shown us is that there are ways to enhance our processes."

          Waetke gave a different excuse for the young Ohio family described in the New York Times article.  The bank had not known the couple was eligible for relief.

          What fucking bullshit.  When some poor woman follows the correct procedures and it takes six months and the intervention of a senator until Wells Fargo backs down, it's outrageous sickening.

          Our caring, compassionate President Bush should be having a live television appearance--the kind that pre-empts all regular television programming, to remind the American public (including all employees of banking institutions) of the law and to remind them that supporting our troops includes not harassing their families with foreclosure notices.  

      •  Easy enough to implement (none)
        When a person gets called into active duty, the military should automatically fire off a notice of active service to the 3 major credit reporting agencies.  

        At the end of the term, the military should send out a termination of service statement.

    •  You AND your Creditors (none)
      A soldier can't automagically assume a creditor knows about your military status. (Unless you are getting dunning letters at a military base, for example.) Nor does any of this prevent creditors from filing suit against a member of the military. It simply affects how much a soldier might ultimately owe (due to a reduction in interest rates)and offer certain protections against default while the soldier is in active military service.

      I'm a needle in the vein of the establishment.

      by mhojo on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:53:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ignorance of the law (none)
    From the article, it seems like this isn't a particularly well-known law. And that seems to be the problem: ignorance.

    What is scary is that many judges and lawyers seem to have not heard of it.

    •  Total (none)
      Interesting idea: Send a one-page brief to the chambers of every judge in America. I wonder how many there are in total?
    •  Collection attorneys and judges know (none)
      Collection attorneys and judges are, for the most part, fairly aware of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. The protections it affords aren't quite as broad as the New York Times article seems to suggest. And, from my experience, the ignorance is not of the law but of the military status of the debtor.

      A significant number of debtors resolutely ignore creditors and judicial process. Only a small fraction of these debtors happen to be in the military. And, if the debtor remains silent about his or her active military status, the wheels of justice will grind along, assuming that the debtor is of the run-of-the-mill variety and not of the sort who was adversely affected financially because he or she was called to duty.

      I'm a needle in the vein of the establishment.

      by mhojo on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:57:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The bankers are well aware of the rules (none)
    just screwing when they think they can get away with it.

    Which a bunch of democrats just helped them get away with on bankrupcy rules.  

    Totally pisses me off.  I remember calculating my salary during basic training--it came to 5 cents/hour. (1974 dollars)  At least my employer of the time was attuned to the fact that my reserve salary needed to be supplemented to match my actual employment salary (but they weren't facing a year's deployment either).  The banks need to back off.  This is one of the "support our troops" examples that really needs to be heard!

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 08:32:22 PM PST

  •  Action Alert? (4.00)
    Should the blog-o-sphere campaign against mortgage companies that have harassed our soldiers?

    Seems like an easy but effective way to support our troops.

    •  The blogo-sphere campaigns (none)
      have been highly successful (ie Sinclair  Broadcasting, Gannon,Guckert). I don't know why we don't do more of them.

      Take a stand agaist barbarism. Protest Bush's
      torture policies.

  •  This is really outrageous (none)
    Things never cease to amaze me. We live in such unjust and divisive times.
  •  eMailed my CongressCritters (none)
    and let them know that just because they voted to let the financial industry harass and torture "regular" folks, they shouldn't let them do it to the service folks (especially since they passed a law against it....)

    "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

    by jillian on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 09:15:32 PM PST

  •  Capitalists Gone Wild! (none)
    From our friends in financial capital this year:

    1. Social Security piratization
    2. Bankruptcy deform
    3. Gutting the Community Reinvestment Act
    4. Phony "Predatory lending legislation"
    5. Violating our servicemembers rights under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940 (IANAL, but as a real estate title examiner I'm intimately familiar with this law).

    I call all these actions parts of the "capital coup", the blatant power grab of financial capital, what Buckminster Fuller wrote about in his last book, The Grunch of Giants.

    I want to point out wrt 3 & 4 the outstanding work being done on financial issues here at Kos by bankbane, whose two diaries I link to above.  People interested in these kinds of issues should subscribe to bankbane's diaries, they are informative, timely, and usually include a means of taking action.

  •  any relation to that new Bankruptcy/Credit Law??? (none)
    what's the scoop with that law that just passed?

    I forget the detals...

    •  Yes (none)
      any relation to that new Bankruptcy/Credit Law?

      Sure - in the sense that if companies don't respect this law (the one protecting active-duty soldiers), those same soldiers are more likely to have to declare bankruptcy. But now, even if a soldier does declare bankruptcy, the creditors can very likely still collect on those debts.

      So in the past, it was, "If we illegally squeeze a soldier now, he might declare bankruptcy and we're screwed." In other words, there was a double disincentive to dun soldiers - it was illegal and likely to turn your credit bad.

      But now, it's, "If we illegally squeeze a soldier now, we can still collect on our loans even if he files for bankruptcy." Lovely.

    •  2600+ sections and then the amendments (none)
      Not wealthy: you can't declare chapter 7, must go to credit counselling scammer, pay for classes, etc... The scoop is the investments made via campaign contributions by various financial groups turned into a runaway bull market.
  •  "Non-refundable deposits" too.. (none)
    My daughter's fiancé, in the army reserve, had a short 6 month stint of active duty in 2003, so he thought he wasn't going to get called for a second round.  They made wedding plans for Sept 2004.  But he got called up Feb 2004 for Iraq, at least a 12 month tour.  Wedding cancelled, and only one vender didn't give our money back.  He, the photographer, maintained if you cancel for any reason, the deposit is non refundable.  $1,500 down the shitter.  Well a local news channel got wind of it and did a service story.  The photographer when corner by the news crew, changed his tune and said he would hold the money for a future wedding, IF he was available.   If he was already booked the day the kids needed him, too bad.  

    I know it's not the same type of contract covered by the soldiers relief act.  But it just infuriates me that he's such a greedy jerk.   And there's no recourse.  We called numerous army departments for legal guidance, and they all say, "I don't know what to tell you".  

    I'm sure there are thousands of similar stories, that involve these smaller amounts of money.  The military doesn't have an official category for them to monitor these type's of losses that are directly service related.

    Needless to say, we went with a different photographer, as my daughter thought the original guy would intentionally ruin her wedding pictures, even if he was available.  

    $1,500 down the shitter...............Red
    only my toys are red

  •  Wonder how many are medical bills (none)
    Hospitals are among the worst when it comes to questionable collection techniques.

    Of course, if we weren't the only supposedly civilized country not to provide citizens with basic health care services, thousands of people wouldn't be saddled with medical debts that they didn't chose and can't possibly pay.

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

    by Cordelia Lear on Sun Mar 27, 2005 at 10:35:22 PM PST

    •  What kind of questionable techniques? (none)
      By way of disclosure: I'm a collection attorney who frequently collects on medical bills. I'm a regular here at DailyKos. I think the Bankruptcy bill they are passing is an abomination. I try to stay away from credit card collections since their interest rates and penalties make even me a bit sheepish. I have no knowledge of collection techniques outside of my own and the outlines of my clients' collection approaches.

      Having said all that, what sort of questionable techniques do you have in mind? My office will send out a demand letter. If the person ignores us or tells us to get lost one way or another, we'll go ahead and file suit. If the person makes payment arrangements, we're usually pretty reasonable. If no payments get made, we'll get a judgment, we'll garnish wages, we'll freeze bank accounts. If a person is ordered to appear before the court to testify as to their income and assets and fail to appear or notify the court of a reason legally excusing them from appearing, we'll ask the court to hold them in contempt and issue a writ for their arrest. (Mind you, the person isn't arrested for failure to pay; they are arrested for failing to appear before a court after having been commanded to do so.)

      If a person provides proof of being in the military service (doesn't have to be much, mail us some kind of document related to your military service) we'll stay any proceedings. (There are legal methods to get proceedings going even while a person is in the military service, but we usually don't bother). However, we won't go away. We'll just wait and resume once the active military service is finished. One of the reasons I like the existing bankruptcy regime is that it gives me a way to close files on people who truly have more debt than they can manage.

      Anyway, I view all of these techniques as legitimate, and I wonder if there are some medical collections going beyond these things (yelling at people on the phone, lying about potential consequences of non-payment, etc.)

      I'm a needle in the vein of the establishment.

      by mhojo on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 09:21:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's been some years (none)
        My dad died in '88 after a lengthy illness. He racked up some hefty medical bills because his medical insurance maxed out on his colon cancer treatment during a hospital stay - unbeknownst to him.

        He lived a pretty meager existance and his estate was limited to his house, it's contents and an old car. After he was out of the hospital, he contacted the doctors and hospitals to make payment arrangements of $XXX per month on each of his bills - which all parties agreed to. He continued to make payment for the ten months or so until he died.

        Shortly after he passed away - about two weeks if I remember correctly - one of the hospitals contacted his "lady friend" / companion, who was an immigrant who spoke with an accent and began harrassing and threatening her. After several calls during the course of a week she told the collections dept. clerk (it was the hospital itself) to call me, as next of kin.

        At that point I began to get harrassed and threatened (my financial status would be ruined... yada, yada, yada.. if the bill was not paid immediately) at work and at home - all hours of the day and night.

        One of the PC's involved also began going back and adjusting previous bills. These were all charges my father had already once had removed for overbilling. They claimed an accounting error on their end for not charging correctly when the service was provided.

        There's no doubt in my mind that the parties had hoped to take advantage of the combination of the fact my father was eldery and now dead, the lady friend spoke broken english and I was out of state.

        I was miffed enough that I thought of persuing the hospital for threatening me over bills incurred by my father. He signed himself into the hospital each time and the first time they called me they were told the estate's attorney would be informed of all the existing debts and would contact them.

        And when I went through his house in order to put it up for sale I found his correspondence file. Their letters to him were not professional. They were threatening, demeaning, and tawdry.

        So there were things well outside the scope of what I would call legitimate, and as you can see my patience - even after all these years - has remained thin and wary over the collection techniques that I had the misfortune to come in contact with.

        Thanks for listening - and no broad brushes here - just a skeptical eye.

        Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

        by Cordelia Lear on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:22:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Legitimate complaints (none)
          Those are certainly legitimate complaints. That irritates me. Being polite and respectful is a priority. For those rare few debtors who just want to engage in a shouting match, I let the court dress them down. And threatening a debtor's daughter's credit rating? What the hell?

          Thanks for the response.

          I'm a needle in the vein of the establishment.

          by mhojo on Tue Mar 29, 2005 at 09:02:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You never learn, do you? (none)
    Step #1: Pass the egregious Bankruptcy Bill to start turning the screws.

    Step #2: Illegally harass a few soldiers, threaten to foreclose on their homes, etc.

    Step #3: The "support the troops" brigade petitions for a law providing debt relief to the military.

    Step #4: When enlistment drops even further and reinstating the draft is deemed politically unwise (it would have to include rich folks too), offer debt relief under Step #3 to all poor folks hopelessly mired in financial servitude under Step #1.

    Result: Presto, instant fresh supply of cannon fodder!  Legal and popular!

    I don't mean to sound snarky, but with "friends" (or allies) like some of the kind-hearted, well-intentioned posters above, we don't need "enemies". The fascists will eat you alive.

    You never learn, do you?

    •  I forgot to write: (none)

      Step #4: When enlistment drops even further and reinstating the draft is deemed politically unwise (it would have to include rich folks too), offer debt relief under Step #3 to all poor folks hopelessly mired in financial servitude under Step #1 if they join the military.

  •  Ironic isn't it (none)
    The veterans love the wingnuts and the wingnuts love to stick it to the veterans, bend over vets and don't forget the KY jelly, the GOP loves you, ENJOY!
    PEACE!
  •  I hope (none)
    these soldiers and their families voted for Bush and republicans for Congress.
  •  support the troops? - rescue the troops!!! (none)
    Your troops get fire from "the rest of the world" and from your own government (sorry - from your banks - or both?).
    Support the troops - when and how do you do that? They are left alone in the battle of money and oil. They don't know what they fight for - they die for it (whatever it is).
    I'm trying to say - do not support the troops - rescue the troops. They are the one who pay for this American disaster. The troops are about 150.000 people. And they pay for 3 million (okay - 1.5 million) people, who decided to work it out in this way.
    Do not allow that!! It is inhumanly. Don't allow the Administration to use human beings for financial and oil intersts. Get awaked by yourself. You cannot allow that.
    There were some ideas in this thread to do something - nobody reacted.
    I'm aware that I don't make friends with this statement. I don't want to make friends - I want to make activists.
    Excuse my emotionel reaction about this case.
    Juergen

    Bushfire? - No! - fire Bush!

    by juergendopp on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 05:09:20 AM PST

  •  People (none)
    especially those with power... simply don't give a damn about anyone but themselves and their families.  The only thing more american than apple pie is greed. It runs through american dream.. gimme my own and screw you.
  •  A Perfect Opportunity here...................... (none)
    I have thought for quite some time now that Veterans issues would be a perfect way for Democrats to attack the right while doing some good for a change.

    The current War on Terror with its prolonged and mismanaged activation and re-activation of Reservists and National Gurdsmen has proved a recruting disaster to the services, financially destructive to many servicemen and has created a healthcare crisis in many Reserve and Guard military families as well as overburdened the already slim health services of the active duty military.

    Dems would do well by proposing legislation that supports Reserve and Guard Healthcare, Wage increases and enhanced benefits to make military service more equitable and attractive. This could be done at the State and National level and should be done across the board by Democratic Governers and Dems in Congress.

    It should be done in a sweeping manner with a tremendous amount of press coverage.

    I am as much a supporter of Gay and Abortion Rights as anyone however shouldn't Servicemen's Rights garner as much support from our party as Gay Rights or Abortion Rights. Servicemen's rights as a Democratic issue may actually win us a few votes and win us some seats to more effectively support our agenda for a fair and inclusive society.

    •  murray-akaka (none)
      murray-akaka amendment kind of got overshadowed (by ANWR). basically failed by party line vote (i think there was one repub defector).

      akaka has (rightfully) taken a beating over ANWR, but this was a pretty good piece of legislation that i thought could have really hurt senate repubs (but then again, i thought kerry would win in a landslide). nowadays, when people say "only in america.................."

      btw,  i hope your pbr stands for PABST BLUE RIBBON

  •  Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act (none)
    is not so arcane, even in non-military towns.  When I successfully sued a contractor who cheated me here in DC, first thing my lawyer did was make sure the guys were not active duty military.
  •  We're just chattel-all of us (none)

    roseeriter

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones"

    by roseeriter on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 06:17:14 AM PST

  •  Who's Talking About It? (none)
    So why isn't the media hammering this after last election where the Republicans wrapped themselves in the flag and called Democrats "Anti-military?"

    I'm getting a head-ache.

    On the lighter side, check out this American English vs. Canadian English joke that a friend emailed me...maybe it'll cheer everyone up.

    Cheers

  •  Professional negligence (4.00)
    What is scary is that many judges and lawyers seem to have not heard of it.

    It's not just scary - it's professional negligence. In EVERY jurisdiction, an attorney has an affirmative ethical duty to bring up all statutes and case law that may be relevant to the case he or she is presenting, whether it is positive or negative for that case.

    This is because, unlike the Continental system of law, our judges are not investigators; we rely on the parties to bring all of the facts and law to the attention of the court, which then decides the facts on the basis of the law presented.

    There's no such thing as "ignorance" here. Failure to present governing law is a breach of professional conduct rules that you can be disbarred for.

    Even if ignorance were an excuse, you can't tell me that giant multinational corporations like Citibank and Wells Fargo, which have in-house legal departments bigger than many blue-chip law firms, are unaware of a law that specifically governs their activities.

  •  I'm with Atrios on this (none)
    See Atrios

    Isn't the job of lawyers and judges to look up pertitent laws? That's what they do isn't it? Seems like a smokescreen to me.

  •  Any comment from the Adminstration on Congress? (none)
    So let me get this straight.  Congress took time last week and spent their energy on passing an unconstitutional law (for Terry Schiavo) and instead they let a current law go unenforced that would protect our soldiers.  So, we go to war, inadequately prepare our soldiers, do not have an exit plan, and now when these soldiers come back home they might not have homes, cars, etc.  

    Any comment from the administration on this?

    •  Any comment from the Adminstration on Congress? (none)
      Hate to say it. But these people vote cheerfully for Bush and this is what they get.

      I'd like to feel sorry for them, but Bush takes their vote for granted and then takes them for granted. That is Bush's Pavlovian response. He can't help himself.

      How do we get through these people that gay bashing, love of the military, mis-directed love of country, adherance to cracker bogus Christianity, opposition to abortion or whatever is driving their vote is costing them -- and their families -- dearly.

      It is so hard not to sound snobbish when you have people who vote so stupidly -- and are proud of it to boot.

  •  not enough support? (none)
    here is the comment from the Administration:
    Condi:
    too less people know that we support our troops with tons of popcorn - isn't that enough?
    >sarcastic sarcasm<

    Bushfire? - No! - fire Bush!

    by juergendopp on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 07:22:39 AM PST

  •  Reading these comments, my suspicions are (none)
     confirmed: I am not a liberal.

    Comments are

    1. Basically, outrage (I share).

    2. Followed by the liberal solution: proposed change in laws .

     Guys, how likely are such reforms to pass under our current "solely-owned subsidiery of corporate America" Congress?

    Do you really think that public outrage is going to amount to a hill of cowshit?

    I don't consder myself to be a libertarian, but their solution might be to ask:

    Why does no one propose, and initiate, alternative financial institutions with liberal (meaning give ordinary folks a break) values?

    I mean, where would you get your house, car, and consumer loans if there was a corporation that dealt with people with same level of intergrety that say, L.L. Bean's does (o.k., let the dissing of Bean's begin, I'm sure there are all kinds of reasons I'm not aware, of but goddamit, they treat their customers fairly. Good quality, no questions asked on returns).

    Such corporation(s) would have a clearly stated code of ethics focusing on not ripping people off and not using miserable laws to cheat peole out of their homes and money. If they failed to live up to this, the blogospere and ordinary word of mouth, would take them down.

    Forget about the public interest. There is a fortune to be made here.

    If someone I trusted started one, I have $1,000 I would invest in it, and $12,000 in credit card debt I would transfer to it.  Would you do the same?

    Soros, or Warren Buffet could start something with pocket change, and it would make Bush's adult supervisors in the banking industry scream in anguish, tear their $1,000 garments, and gnash their recapped teeth. Maybe bankrupt a few, too.

    Or dkos-reading venture capitalists.

    No? Why not?

    Because liberals are wimps, that's why.

    (Wish I knew what I am).

    Or not?

    "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

    by faithnomore on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 07:25:10 AM PST

    •  WTF? (4.00)
      Due respect, but your comment is one of the more asinine I've read here.

      Why does no one propose liberal financial institutions? You mean crecit unions and the like? They exist my brilliant commenter, your mind is not the first with this thought.

      The problem - credit needs are geater than that. Not every one has access to credit unions, nor can they.

      Unfortunately, we need the liberal approach of regulation and those awful "laws" you seem to disdain because our nation opted for democratic capitalism.

      "Just say no to torture." -Semi-Anonymous Blogger.

      by Armando on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 07:35:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess no hope for me. (none)
        I certainly don't claim to be an economic expert, but it seems like there are a lot of folks, like me, who would take money out of their Bush- supporting cut-throat financial institutions and invest them in  alternatives that treat customers ethically, and these  WOULD THEN MAKE BIG PROFITS FOR THEIR STOCKHOLDERS. I agree about credit unions, in fact I just convinced a co-worker to move his business from a corporate bank to ours own local one.

        Obviously fair regulation of financial institutions would also be good. How much space to you plan to give to the issue before congress comes around to your point of view?

        I think it is unfortunate that people sympathetic to the victimization of others, as well as themselves, are so above promoting such alternatives.

        asininely yours,
        f

        ps I appreciate your willingness to directly engage us commentors.

        "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

        by faithnomore on Mon Mar 28, 2005 at 08:31:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Soldiers start deserting! (none)
      The government does not care about it's soldiers and it never will. They would rather see the benefit to credit card companies and mortgage lenders in seizing the property of Reservists than in helping the soldiers

      So this almost sounds like a scam. The government and credit card, mortgage lenders working together to rip off soldiers.

  •  In the Belly of the Beast (none)
    As a Compliance Manager at a student loan company, I became familiar several years ago with the SSCRA. At that time, before our nation was so overtly bloodthirsty (remember when we used to opt for more sophisticated and subtle covert influence of foreign affairs? ahhh, nostalgia...where's Ollie North now?), the protections of the SSCRA were so rarely enforced because noone except military lawyers knew about them. Very few of my fellow policy wonks buddies had even heard of it.

    The preconception among most financial services institutions was that the SSCRA applied strictly to guard/reserves called to active duty, and then ONLY if their pay was substantially decreased as a result, AND they were not having this pay offset by the employer.  The servicemember had to invoke the protections of the Act in order to receive them...which can be tricky if you are called up on active duty. Nevertheless, these preconceptions were accurate, and carried over to the SCRA.

    Due to a loophole in the old SSCRA, military attorney's were getting pretty incredible interest rate caps on their own debts and were obviously gaming the system. They were taking advantage of a law that was rushed through Congress due to a real war.  These clowns were just gaming the system.

    However, as an 8-year Air Force veteran myself, I took these servicemembers' claims very seriously and wanted to ensure my company was following the rules.  Remember, at the time the SSCRA was adopted, it was to protect military members in WWII and was not written with an expiration date. "Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost..." For as many companies out there that screw the little guy, there are quite a few little guys playing their own games, which are no less immoral (however minimal their overall social impact).

    In my review of the new SCRA, it appears that some of the loopholes were closed, but nothing particularly onerous was opened for the financial sector...unless you consider that there are some requirements placed on the servicemembers now that in my opinion are reasonable, in that they are only required AFTER the period of active duty is over.

    In summary, the SCRA provides the following protections:

    1. The 6% rule.  For certain loans taken out PRIOR to active duty, the interest rate can be capped at 6%.  With the fed rate going up, we're likely to see this rule become more significant.  It's a protection that active duty should take advantage of.

    2. Delay of Court and Legal Proceedings: can delay certain court or administrative proceedings for a minimum of 90 days, following a written request with: 1) reason current duty materially affects his/her ability to appear, 2) a date when he/she can appear, 3) letter from the commander substantiating this information.  This delay can be extended at the whim of the court, if a financial service provider is involved, they have no say.

    3. Termination of Leases: can terminiate with receipt of orders for Permanent Change of Station (PCS)...this includes automobile leases.

    4. Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent: a landlord must obtain a court order to evict military members or dependents. The courts have much discretion and can provide as long a stay as is just given the circumstances. I'd be curious to hear of any case in which someone on active duty in Iraq had their family evicted for nonpayment.  The ceiling for the rent is $2,465/month as of 2004.

    5. Default Judgment Protection: allows default judgments to be reopened and set aside, usually because the servicemember was prejudiced by not being able to appear, provided that he/she has good legal defenses to the claims against him/her.

    6. Life Insurance protection: can request deferment on certain commercial life insurance premiums and other payments for up to 2 years following the period of active duty. The VA guarantees the payments in this circumstance.

    7. State Taxation clarification: nonresident servicemember tax relief...this one is complicated...

    8. Health Insurance Reinstatement: provided the insurance was active upon entry into active duty and lapsed during active duty.

    As with any other law, it is important for anyone you know who may benefit from this law to consult an attorney to iron out the details.

    Also, federal loans, such as Direct Loans or FFEL Loans for college are exempted from this law, but ARE covered by the HEROES Act, which is an addition to the Higher Education Act (HEA). The HEROES Act mirrors the provisions of the SCRA to a high degree.

    As far as the financial service industry titans such as Wells and Citigroup, it is highly unlikely that their compliance departments were unaware of this new legislation. It's unclear why they would bring down the full force of public indignation by taking collection actions in violation of the law.  If they were technically correct, but violated the spirit and intent of the law, they would face equally disruptive public outcry.  

    Some smaller mom and pop lenders or credit issuers may not be aware, however.

    From inside the belly of the beast, this is SnyperKitty saying "there's lot's of us in here too..."

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