US Senate Democrats press JPMorgan for details on debt collection practices

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WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Top U.S. Senate Democrats are pressing JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) for details on how they are taking delinquent credit card borrowers to justice.

In a letter sent to the bank on Monday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown insisted on details about how the bank is trying to collect overdue credit card debt, and in particular whether the bank uses “robotic signature” to quickly process legal documents without proper review.

“We are asking Chase to provide detailed information about the bank’s credit card debt collection practices. Chase should not use robotic signature to pursue these debt collection lawsuits, or any other debt,” wrote Brown, along with five other Senate Democrats.

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While the bank has been fined by regulators for robotic signing in the past, a bank spokesperson denied any claims the bank is doing so now, saying a trained employee reviews every affidavit the bank bank files individually to verify the information, which is then of high quality. checked by a second employee before it is archived.

“That’s just plain wrong. There’s nothing automated about the way these trained employees review affidavits,” said Thomas Kelly, the bank’s spokesman.

“If ultimately we can’t come to a repayment plan, we pursue disputes as a last resort. We file disputes in less than 0.1% of all credit card accounts,” he added.

In 2015, the bank agreed to pay more than $200 million in refunds and penalties after financial regulators discovered it was relying on bot-signed documents, in which an employee signed an affidavit alleging made in court without personal knowledge.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said at the time that the bank’s failure to consistently review its legal filings led to miscalculations in some lawsuits that resulted in judgments against borrowers for incorrect amounts.

The Democrats’ questions were prompted by a January article published by ProPublica and The Capitol Forum, which found that JPMorgan was increasing the number of lawsuits against overdue credit card borrowers, after previously halting the practice in 2011.

Kelly said the bank resumed litigation in 2019, after notifying regulators.

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Reporting by Pete Schroeder Editing by Chris Reese and Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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