Hudson Valley Credit Union Repossessed Military Members’ Cars
The Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union admitted to illegally repossessing seven military members' cars.
On Friday, officials from the Southern District of New York Court announced that the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union agreed to pay $95,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) by repossessing vehicles owned by SCRA-protected service members without first obtaining the required court orders.
“Protecting service members is a high priority for this Office and the country," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. "We are pleased that Hudson Valley has taken these remedial steps, and this Office will continue to protect the rights of men and women in uniform.”
Under the agreement, the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union has agreed to pay $65,000 to compensate seven service members whose cars it unlawfully repossessed and will pay a civil penalty of $30,000 to the United States, officials say.
“Financial institutions must recognize and honor their responsibilities to our men and women in uniform," Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said. "Our nation depends upon the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our service members and we must ensure that they receive all rights and protections afforded to them by law.”
The Southern District of New York Court launched an investigation into credit union's repossession practices after learning of two private lawsuits filed in the Southern District of New York.
In both lawsuits, the plaintiffs alleged that credit union violated the SCRA by repossessing the plaintiffs’ vehicles after plaintiffs had entered military service.
Officials later found many additional violations, prosecutors say.
The Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union has agreed to provide $10,000 in compensation to each of the six affected service members, plus any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. An additional service member, whose vehicle was repossessed but returned within 24 hours, will receive $5,000.
The credit union has also taken steps to repair the credit of the affected service members, officials say.
The Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union announced they have taken additional steps, beyond regulatory requirements, to expand annual SCRA training to all staff and created a dedicated link and phone number for servicemembers on HVFCU’s website.
"The men and women of our military deserve our unwavering support so when we learned of the DoJ’s inquiry in 2016, we immediately reviewed our procedures to ensure compliance with the SCRA," HVFCU President and CEO Mary D. Madden said in a press release.
The Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union is based out of Poughkeepsie and is one of the biggest credit unions in America.
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