HSBC Recklessly Forecloses on Active Duty Military

A new suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota accuses Illinois-based HSBC Mortgage Services of violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, signed into law in 2003 as a way of easing the economic and legal burdens on military personnel called to service. News of the suit was published April 21, 2012 in the Twin Cities Star Tribune.

First we must clear up a few points. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was re-written in 2003. This law completely rewrites the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940, expanding many of the previous law’s civil protections. HSBC objected at the time, and HSBC wished to only recognize those in a combat zone, and more specifically those getting shot at. All to save HSBC from being forced to reduce interest rates.

On July 24, 2008 I published an article titled “Public outcry as HSBC abuses soldier in Iraq”. HSBC specifically knew the requirements set forth in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. HSBC simply did not care.

HSBC has abused the United States Military for years, as this article demonstrates, with facts dating back to 2003.

In the latest lawsuit, which may apply to so many military members that HSBC may see another class action suit, the suit alleges that HSBC has foreclosed on service members’ mortgages while they were on active duty and evicted them and their families without giving them a chance to challenge the foreclosures in court. It also alleges that HSBC recklessly filed papers that said Army Staff Sgt. Phillip Harry was not a member of the military at the time of the sale, when a simple check of public records would have shown he was serving overseas.

According to the suit, Harry bought his house on James Avenue N. in Minneapolis in 2005 and the mortgage was later assigned to HSBC. On March 25, 2008, Harry was ordered to report to the National Guard training site at Camp Ripley and then to active duty on April 15 for training to deploy to Iraq. He served in Iraq until June 2009.

On the day he reported for training at Fort Sill, Okla., HSBC began a foreclosure sale, and attempted to serve Harry the notice on April 21, according to the suit. The suit alleges that without Harry’s knowledge, HSBC bought the house at sheriff’s auction for $32,602.

As a result, Harry lost his house, personal property, the equity he had built up and suffered damage to his credit rating, the suit said. He now lives in Zimmerman, Minn.

Here are some basic facts about HSBC in the United States

This blog originally pertained to predatory lender Household International. HSBC bought Household in 2003. Based in London, HSBC had enough money to refinance the predator’s debt. By 2005 predatory lending went mainstream. Regulators were asleep, fines were minimal when contrasted with rewards and profits, and mortgage backed securities became a tool.

If congress took the time to investigate how the United States subprime crisis started congress would discover HSBC did, in whole or in part, contribute to the downfall of America. “There is no excuse for a sophisticated, multi-national bank like HSBC to ignore these laws and foreclose on our soldiers’ homes while they are away serving our country,” said Vildan Teske, one of Harry’s attorneys. “Our service members deserve better.”

The problem goes well beyond HSBC ignoring laws. HSBC has a track record of ignoring laws in the United States. By 2007 the wheels fell off of HSBC’s subprime operation. By 2011, and through 2012 as I write this article, HSBC still buys mortgages. That is HSBC USA and HSBC Mortgage Services. Unfortunately (defined as
1. Characterized by undeserved bad luck; unlucky. 2. Causing misfortune; disastrous. 3. Regrettable; deplorable: an unfortunate …) borrowers become aligned with HSBC and have nothing to say about it. Such was the case with Staff Sergeant Harry.

When any servicemember learns that HSBC bought their home mortgage, or servicing rights to their home mortgage, a simple Google search turns up many articles about HSBC abuse of servicemembers, HSBC ignoring the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, etc. But that is only half of the story.

Dating as far back as the origin of this blog in about 1998, Household International financed the Bestbuy Stores credit card, and abused military servicemembers. After HSBC bought Household abuse never stopped. In 2012, HSBC continues to finance the Bestbuy credit card. Abuse of everyone – civilians and military – was a driving factor in new credit card laws. Clarity, timely statements, etc, were abused by HSBC to make illegal profits. Payments mailed 10 days early were credited 1 day late.

The fact of the matter is HSBC is probably not the only bank to foreclose on servicemembers. HSBC is the worst. HSBC Finance was the worst abuser in the credit card market, and big enough to know better. And for some reason investigators continue to pound Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others. Investigators never look at HSBC, simply because it is easier to be lazy and look at US banks, instead of examining HSBC – a multinational bank.

It is time for Americans to dump HSBC, boycott HSBC, and tweet, Facebook, and expose HSBC. Support our servicemembers. Support your community, and learn the real truth behind foreclosures and falling property values. It is time for HSBC to go back to China and London. HSBC has done enough damage in America. HSBC has abused too many United States citizens.