America's biggest banks have admitted that they wrongfully foreclosed on the homes of at least 700 military personnel, in some cases evicting families while troops were serving in war zones, the New York Times reports. The wrongful foreclosures by banks including Citigroup and Wells Fargo surfaced as part of an investigation stemming from a settlement with federal authorities over foreclosure abuse during the housing crisis. Federal law requires banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty troops.
“It’s absolutely devastating to be 7,000 miles from your home fighting for this country and get a message that your family is being evicted," says a retired Air Force lawyer who represents troops in foreclosure cases. "We have been sounding the alarms that the banks are illegally evicting the very men and women who are out there fighting for this country. This is a devastating confirmation of that." The big banks say the wrongful foreclosures are only a small fraction of the mortgages being reviewed and they plan to compensate those affected.