Bank of America Fined $30M for Improper Military Debt Collection

In this Jan. 14, 2015 photo, people walk past a branch of Bank of America, in New York. (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)
In this Jan. 14, 2015 photo, people walk past a branch of Bank of America, in New York. (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

WASHINGTON — Bank of America has been fined $30 million by U.S. regulators, who accused the bank of violating consumer protections for members of the military in collecting debts.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a Treasury Department division, announced the civil penalty Friday against the second-largest U.S. bank. The agency says Bank of America has started taking steps to correct the problems and "is committed to taking all necessary and appropriate steps" to do so.

The regulators say the bank violated the law protecting service members by taking improper legal action against military customers for delinquent credit card accounts and overdrafts. The improper practices allegedly occurred from January 2006 to the present.

The OCC also said Bank of America had failed to have effective policies and procedures to ensure its compliance with the law, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said it will continue to improve its compliance with the law.

"We have taken significant steps over the last several years, and will take further steps now, to ensure we have the right controls and processes in place to meet — and exceed — what is required by law and what our customers deserve and expect," Andrew Plepler, the bank's executive in charge of social responsibility and consumer policy, said in a statement.

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