Friday, July 7, 2017

Michigan CU Settles with Justice Department over Illegal Repossession of Servicemembers' Vehicles

The Justice Department announced on July 6 that COPOCO Community Credit Union, based in Bay City, Michigan, has agreed to a settlement to resolve allegations that it illegally repossessed four servicemembers’ vehicles.

The Justice Department launched an investigation after it received a complaint in October 2015 from Alyssa Carriveau, the wife of U.S. Army Private First Class Christian Carriveau, alleging that COPOCO had illegally repossessed their car. On July 26, 2016, the Justice Department sued the credit union over its alleged violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by repossessing cars owned by protected servicemembers without first obtaining the required court orders.

Under the agreement, COPOCO must change its policies and compensate four servicemembers whose cars COPOCO unlawfully repossessed.

Specifically, "[t]he agreement requires COPOCO to provide $10,000 in compensation to each of the affected servicemembers, plus any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. The Carriveaus, who had their car returned to them the day after the repossession at the department’s request, will receive $7,500. COPOCO also must repair the credit of all affected servicemembers, pay a $5,000 civil penalty to the United States and determine, in the future, whether any vehicle it is planning to repossess is owned by an active duty servicemember. If so, COPOCO will not repossess the vehicle without first obtaining a court order or valid waiver of SCRA rights. The agreement also contains provisions ensuring that all eligible servicemembers will receive the benefit of the SCRA’s six percent interest rate cap on their auto loans."

Read the press release.

Read the settlement agreement.

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