Chase Bank Facing Pressure on Near-Foreclosure for Soldier’s Family Home

A petition has been created by Change.org to support an American soldier fighting in Iraq whose family home in Oregon may be foreclosed on when he visits next month.

Nearly 120,000 individuals from across the nation have signed the petition hoping that JPMorgan Chase stops its scheduled Aug. 9 foreclosure on the family home of Aaron Collette.

“Change.org is happy to provide a platform for the Collette family and millions of other Americans suffering through the banking foreclosure process,” said Jess Kutch, director of organizing for economic justice at Change.org. “Americans are extremely frustrated with their banks, and from the thousands who have taken action, it is clear that Tim’s story resonates with people across the country.”

The soldier is scheduled to return home from Iraq on Aug. 19 to see his family for two weeks. Tim Collette, Aaron’s father, requested that the bank at least hold off on the foreclosure until his son returns to Iraq, but the bank has refused this offer.

“I don't want him thinking about coming home and having it not be there,” Collette said in the petition. “I just want him to come home and know he can be safe for 15 days.”

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was signed into law in 2003, but this only prevents a lender from foreclosing on a home that is owned by a military member. It does not pertain to a property owned by a family member or relative, which is the case for the Collette’s.

In 2006, Collette purchased the home with a $100,000 downpayment. However, due to the economic collapse, he lost his job and requested the bank for a loan modification.

According to Angela Martin, executive director of Economic Fairness Oregon, Chase supposedly told Collette to default by not paying his mortgage for two months. The bank would then put the homeowner on a trial modification for nine months, but denied him a full modification and demanded $9,000 in amounts overdue, Martin said.

Collette is currently more than a year behind in his mortgage payments.

Chase said that they have been working with the family to find a solution, but reportedly is continuing to foreclose on the property in a few weeks.

“What they’re forcing homeowners to do is negotiate with a gun pointed at their head,” Martin said.