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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was enacted in 2003 to protect US military personnel and their families from creditors while they are on active duty serving their country.  But the law didn't stop Deutsche Bank from foreclosing on the property of Sgt. James B. Hurley, a reservist from Hartford, Michigan, while he was on active duty in Iraq:

In violation of a law intended to protect active military personnel from creditors, agents of Deutsche Bank foreclosed on his small Michigan house, forcing Sergeant Hurley’s wife, Brandie, and her two young children to move out and find shelter elsewhere.

Rather than admitting to violating the law and paying Hurley resitution for illegally taking his home, Deutsche Bank has forced the serviceman into a lengthy - and costly - legal battle:

Typically, banks respond quickly to public reports of errors affecting military families. But today, more than six years after the illegal foreclosure, Deutsche Bank Trust Company ... [is] still in court disputing whether Sergeant Hurley is owed significant damages. Exhibits show that at least 100 other military mortgages are being serviced for Deutsche Bank, but it is not clear whether other service members have been affected by the policy that resulted in the Hurley foreclosure.

Sadly, James Hurley didn't just lose his home.  He lost his family as well:

the foreclosure that cost him his home may also cost him his marriage. "Brandie took this very badly," said Sergeant Hurley, 45, a plainspoken man who was disabled in Iraq and is now unemployed. "We’re trying to piece it together."

The whole sordid story of the giant German bank's overreaching is on the front page of today's New York Times for all the world to read.

"A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment."

Evidently the Deutsche Bank will stop at nothing to achieve CEO Joe Ackermann's goal of 25% pretax Return on Equity.

I wish I could say that this is an isolated foreclosure episode involving Deutsche Bank, but it's not: the giant German institution has forced tens of thousands of Americans from their homes. The situation is especially dire in Milwaukee:

Milwaukee has been struggling economically for decades, a situation recently made considerably worse by the fallout from the subprime mortgage disaster and the ensuing epidemic of housing foreclosures. Although the foreclosures have also hit neighborhoods in the nearby counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee, the concentration -- and devastation -- is greatest in the city of Milwaukee where, according to Common Ground's research, Deutsche Bank's subprime footprints are easy to spot in front of boarded up, foreclosed houses.

How ironic: Milwaukee was built by German immigrants; now it's being ruined by a German bank.

Originally posted to DowneastDem on Thu Jan 27, 2011 at 01:59 PM PST.

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