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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a United States federal law that protects soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, commissioned officers in the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from being sued while in active military service of their country and for up to a year after active duty.
While the Act doesn't specifically interfere with some collection efforts, it does directly influence how and when those under the protection of the SCRA can be sued for the collection of a debt.
It is important for collection agencies to understand just who is protected and how to comply with the act. And once you have the combination of those things, and an understanding of the resources available to comply with the act, you can avoid knee-jerk reactions just to avoid all cases where service members are in involved.
It’s also important that collectors on the front line have a similar sensitivity to the issues. While they may not need to know the entirety of the law, they are depending on you to have scripts, policies, and procedures in place that help keep them out of harm’s way.
While the SCRA does provide a lot of different protections, those protections are not absolute. They’re not prohibitions on collecting debts or foreclosures or repossessions or other events that may be adverse to a servicemember or someone eligible for SCRA benefits. They simply require that those steps be done in a certain way.
Roy Kaufmann is an attorney with over 30 years of experience in civil and criminal law and conversant in legislative as well as litigation matters. He graduated from the George Washington University Law School and has experience in both the public and private sectors.
Kirk Jensen is a partner at BuckleySandler LLP, focusing on retail and commercial financial services. Mr. Jensen has extensive experience in matters relating to the federal and state fair lending laws, consumer protection laws, unfair and deceptive trade practices, consumer privacy laws, and mortgage fraud. Mr. Jensen has particular expertise in matters related to the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, so it makes sense we asked him to be on this call, and related state laws, having represented several institutions in landmark enforcement actions.
Sasha Leonhardt is an associate with BuckleySandler LLP. Mr. Leonhardt represents financial services industry clients in a wide range of enforcement, litigation, and regulatory matters. He has represented clients in government investigations and enforcement actions related to mortgage origination, servicing, and foreclosure. He also has substantial experience advising clients on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Mr. Leonhardt has written and published articles on data privacy, class action litigation, white collar litigation, whistleblower lawsuits and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Length: 124 pages