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JPMorgan Chase to Pay $136M to Settle CFPB Claims

In 2013, the Attorney General of California noticed an abundance of lawsuits filed by JPMorgan-Chase that were flooding their courts. The majority of these lawsuits were debt collection cases against credit card borrowers, for which many of the cases had scant evidence. Based on her observations, Attorney General Harris took civil action against JPMorgan-Chase. Following her action, The state of Mississippi followed California’s lead and filed a civil action of its own against JPMorgan. The civil actions sparked investigations at a federal level from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

The CFPB launched a nearly 2 year investigation into JP Morgan, finding them to have to violated portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. JPMorgan was found to have engaged in several deceptive and abusive activities.

In their first major violation, Chase sold uncollectable debts to third party collectors. Some of these debts were already paid in full prior to being sold; settled by an agreement; or discharged in bankruptcy. They even sold debts that were opened fraudulently. In many cases even when a debt was legitimate, they neglected to provide how much of the debt had already been paid.

As a result of selling these unenforceable debts, Chase was found to be responsible for causing debt collectors to engage in deceptive collection practices. It is presumed that Chase knew that the collection agencies that purchased these tainted accounts would attempt to collect. In doing so, Chase is liable for assisting in the violations.

Another major violation was in regards to errors produced by “Robo-signing” affidavits. Robo-signing is a tactic that some banks engage in an effort to expedite their cases through a highly automated review process, for example, where affidavits are sent to a servicer who in turn simply clicks a button to attach their digital signature. The issue that arises is that sometimes an affidavit will be signed without adequatereview. The CFPB deemed that it was widespread application of this tactic that led to the selling of many of the aforementioned bad debts.

The CFPB’s massive investigation of JPMorgan came to a close this past July when they came to a settlement with JPMorgan-Chase. As part of the agreement JPMorgan will pay a $30 Million civil penalty to the CFPB, a $95 Million to the 47 effected states, plus another $11 Million to cover attorney fees. Beyond this, the CFPB additionally listed rules of practice that JPMorgan must follow, as well as certain limitations on future sales of debts. This is in addition to the $50 Million in restitution that JPmorgan was ordered to pay as a result of the OCC’s investigation into the same matter. JPMorgan may find themselves liable for even more after the verdicts come down in the still pending civil action lawsuits in California and Mississippi.