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Opening Statement of Hon. Bob Filner, Ranking Democratic Member, Full Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Good morning everyone.  I’m glad you all could join us for this very important hearing today on overcharges by JPMorgan Chase on military families.  I would also like to thank the Chairman for holding this hearing today. 

I believe this is a very important issue and is something that we should continue to monitor as the foreclosure crisis continues to unfold.  I also want to thank all of our distinguished panelists for participating in today’s Committee hearing.  I know that some of our panelists have traveled far distances to be here today. 

Today’s hearing seeks to examine why banks such as JP Morgan Chase have overcharged our military families who are actively engaged in defending our country.  

While we want to know how these overcharges happened, I also want to know what they are doing to prevent this from occurring again. 

As foreclosures filings continue to rise, the effect on Americans has been acute, with California having one of the most affected populations.  According to RealtyTrac, California metro areas such as San Diego have been seriously affected by the foreclosures. 

Like most Americans, many of our nation’s heroes see home ownership as an integral part of the American dream.  Unfortunately, for a number of military families, that part of the American dream became a nightmare when JP Morgan foreclosed on their homes.  It is my sincerest hope that JP Morgan Chase is taking immediate corrective steps to restore these families to their home as soon as possible.

I personally have grave concerns for Marine Captain Rowles and his wife.  They have been through a 5 year saga with the bank. 

It is unconscionable that any family would have to endure this kind of treatment -- especially a military family.  I strongly urge JP Morgan Chase to move as quickly as possible to do the right thing for them and all of the other military families who are affected.

For many of our returning service members and veterans, the stress of what they have gone through by serving in a war zone may still affect them.  This is why the protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act are there to provide protection for all of our military families.  

Mr. Chairman, I hope you and everyone else in the committee will make a commitment today to stand up for veterans and their families by joining me in making these protections permanent for the military families.   

I look forward to hearing the testimony of all our panelists so that we may better understand the problem and see what preventive strategies can be implemented to address the overcharges and unnecessary foreclosures on our nation’s military families.

Again, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing and I thank all of our panelists for being here with us today.  Your dedication to our nation’s service members and veterans is extremely important as we seek to identify and improve lending practices to protect military families, while continuing to allow opportunities for homeownership.

Thank you and I yield back my time.