Credit union to pay $95,000 in settlement for repossessing service members’ vehicles

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NEW YORK – Hudson Valley
Federal Credit Union has agreed to pay $95,000 to resolve allegations
that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by repossessing vehicles
owned by service members protected under the act without first obtaining
the required court orders.

Under the agreement, the credit union has agreed to pay $65,000 to compensate
seven service members whose cars it unlawfully repossessed and will pay
a civil penalty of $30,000 to the federal government.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York launched an investigation
into Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union’s repossession practices
after learning of two private lawsuits filed in federal court in which
the plaintiffs alleged the credit union violated the federal law by repossessing
the plaintiffs’ vehicles after they entered the military service.

Investigation identified seven additional violations and revealed that,
prior to August 2014, the financial institution did not have any written
policies or procedures that addressed the federal protections against
non-judicial auto repossessions.