Nightly News | February 09, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: The second largest bank in America , JPMorgan Chase admitted today it had mistreated thousands of the nation's men and women in uniform by overcharging them on their mortgages or outright foreclosing on their homes. In some cases, it happened while they were on war duty in Iraq or Afghanistan . The admission came after an exclusive report by our own senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers , who has our follow-up report tonight.
LISA MYERS reporting: Army Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Letts-Smith and her family were foreclosed on by Chase almost two years ago, while she was on active duty in Iraq .
Lieutenant Colonel SARAH LETTS-SMITH: I remember it being very difficult, very hard.
Ms. JULIA ROWLES: We love you, honey.
MYERS: Marine Captain Jonathan Rowles and his wife, Julia , were overcharged by Chase for their mortgage, then harassed for money they did not owe.
Unidentified Man #1: Representing the Captain and Mrs. Rowles .
MYERS: Today the couple told an outraged congressional committee they'd been battling Chase for five years.
Ms. ROWLES: We've spoken with managers in South Carolina to Texas to California . Nobody knew what -- how to fix our problem.
Captain JONATHAN ROWLES: You spend your time trying to not worry about home, and...
Unidentified Man #2: And that's all...
Capt. ROWLES: ...but it's still in the back of your mind when you're fighting.
MYERS: To spare troops financial stress while in harm's way, federal law limits how much interest they can be charged and generally prohibits foreclosures while on active duty . Chase acknowledged today that it had inadvertently violated that law, overcharging 4500 troops, and wrongly foreclosing on 18 of them.
Ms. STEPHINE MUDICK (JPMorgan Chase Consumer Practices Head): We are deeply disappointed that we have let down the men and women of our military.
MYERS: The bank says it has reached settlements with most of those wrongly foreclosed on, and is refunding $2.4 million to those overcharged. But both Republicans and Democrats say that's not nearly enough.
Representative BOB FILNER (Democrat, California): Your bank broke the law. Shouldn 't someone go to jail for that?
Unidentified Man #3: It's un-American, unpatriotic.
MYERS: A federal prosecutor now is investigating whether Chase should face civil charges for violating the rights of those in harm's way. Lisa Myers , NBC News, Washington.