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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 07/18/2011

Debate rages over bank’s planned foreclosure of U.S. soldier Aaron Collette’s home


Aaron Collette and his father Tim. (Image from Change.org)
The debate over JPMorgan Chase’s upcoming foreclosure of a U.S. soldier’s family home while he is fighting in Iraq rages on. Change.org’s petition to stop the bank from foreclosing has 85,000 signatures already, while JPMorgan promises it’s making every attempt to find a solution.

Aaron Collette, 20, is scheduled to return to home to Bend, Oregon for two weeks of leave from Iraq in August, and his father, Tim Collette, is still worried Aaron won’t have a home to return to.

Collette bought the house in 2006, when his son was 16, but was unable to pay his mortgage after his flooring and countertop business was hurt by the recession.

The debate over the foreclosure has many sticky details. Here’s what each side says and what the resolution could be.

Tim Collete’s side of the story:

Collette says he was told by the bank that he’d only qualify for a loan modification if he missed two of his monthly payments. He says he then missed the two payments, and was told he was being considered for a modification. Collette says he didn’t realize that another branch of the bank was at the same time considering him for active foreclosure, counting his modified payments as missed payments.

Some also mistakenly believed that by foreclosing on Collette’s home, JPMorgan Chase was breaking a law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which forbids banks from foreclosing on the homes of active members of the military.

Collette says that the bank continues to lose his paperwork and delay a solution, despite having dedicated an employee to his case.

JP Morgan Chase’s side of the story:

Foreclosures typically don’t happen until a year of missed payments occur. So it’s likely that Collette is in hot water for missing more than two months’ worth of payments, which could include modified payments.

SCRA applies to the person who has the mortgage. In this case, Aaron’s father Tim bought the house and has the mortgage, so SCRA does not apply to Aaron.

The bank insists it is working to find a solution.

The way forward:

The home foreclosure is scheduled on Aug. 9, and it remains unclear whether this will happen or a compromise will be reached before that day.

Change.org says Collette now has a new job in the construction business and can pay his old mortgage payments, but is unable to pay the $9000 in penalties he has racked up.

But Tim Collette is also focused on the bigger picture. Over the last couple months, Collette has been working in Oregon to pass legislation that would help all Oregon homeowners.

“Right now we’re focused on keeping Tim in his home, but I see this as a bigger issue, because so many service members live with their parents,” says Jess Kutch, Change.org Director of Organizing for Economic Justice.

By  |  12:36 PM ET, 07/18/2011

 
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