NOV 11, 2011 4:24pm ET

B of A Settles Charges that it Illegally Foreclosed on Military Personnel

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Bank of America's residential servicing department Friday entered into a settlement with the Department of Justice to reimburse members of the military whose homes were foreclosed on while they were on active duty.

BAC Home Loan Servicing LP agreed to pay 157 service men and women a minimum of $116,785 each plus compensation for lost equity to settle alleged violations of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.

BAC was formerly a Countrywide servicing shop that B of A acquired in 2008.

DOJ assistant attorney general Thomas Perez said the Justice Department will vigorously enforce the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.

"The men and women serving our country should not have to worry about a bank foreclosing on their home while they bravely serve our country," Perez said.

SCRA provides certain protections for military personnel, reservists and Guardsman.  When called up for activity duty, foreclosure and eviction proceedings are halted.

Earlier this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sent letters to the 25 largest banks, urging executives to provide their servicing employees with more training about the SCRA.

"I hope banks will use this [DOJ] announcement as an incentive to redouble their efforts.” said CFPB assistant director Holly Petraeus. (Petraeus, the wife of former Army general David Petraeus, is in charge of CFPB's Office of Servicemember Affairs.)

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