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Opening Statement of Hon. Russ Carnahan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Missouri

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this important hearing on alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. 

Since the passing of the Soldier's and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act in 1940, Congress has continuously recognized the importance of providing protections to servicemembers and their families to help relief them of the civil and financial burdens they face while on active duty. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act simply expanded upon that original law by providing a broader range of protections including provisions that would reduce interest rates to six percent on mortgage loans and foreclosure projections. 

Upon hearing of these allegations, I was deeply troubled to know that one of the nation’s largest financial institutions possibly disregarded the very act that was put in place to protect our nation’s heroes and their families.  Although I am pleased to know that JP Morgan Chase has begun the process of refunding money to the more than 4,000 affected servicemembers that were overcharged and putting 14 families back into their wrongfully foreclosed homes, I remain concerned that there may be more servicemembers and families affected by this matter.

In this climate, in which the housing market is still struggling to stabilize; it is particularly important that all financial institutions adhere to the safeguards put forth to protect those very individuals that sacrifice so much for the good of our nation.  It is my hope that today’s hearing gives JP Morgan Chase the opportunity to explain their wrong doings, to inform the committee of their plans to quickly resolve these matters and ensure us that they will adhere to the protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act moving forward.

To all the witnesses today—thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to appear before us.  I look forward to hearing your testimony.