June 8, 2011

Whitehouse Testifies Before Senate Veterans’ Committee on his Bill to Prevent Military Foreclosures

Legislation Would Help Keep Military Families in Their Homes

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs about his Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuses Act. The bill, which Whitehouse introduced in March, would improve protection for military families from losing their homes through wrongful foreclosure.

“While operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world have put tremendous demands on our brave men and women in uniform, lenders at home have repeatedly disregarded the laws that are designed to protect servicemembers and their families from losing their homes when they deploy,” said Whitehouse. “Not only are these practices illegal and morally repugnant, they can also be a dangerous distraction from our military mission.”

Currently, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is supposed to prevent active duty servicemembers from being foreclosed on. Unfortunately, several big banks have repeatedly ignored the law in recent years and illegally foreclosed on troops.

The Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuses Act of 2011, cosponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and 14 other senators, would encourage compliance with the SCRA by doubling the maximum criminal penalties for violations of its foreclosure and eviction protections. It would also give servicemembers the time they need after returning from deployment to regain solid financial footing. Under current law, servicemembers have 9 months of foreclosure protection after military service. However this provision is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Then, servicemembers will only get 90 days of foreclosure protections. Whitehouse’s bill would permanently extend the period of foreclosure protection to 24 months.

“Our troops serving abroad face countless threats every day. The threat of foreclosure should not be among them,” Whitehouse added.


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Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921