A local law firm filed a levy on a Latino senior’s bank account to collect a debt. The client’s only income came from Social Security. The client’s bank had violated federal law by freezing the account and charging the client a $100 service fee. Further harm was caused when the bank then bounced the client’s mortgage check, along with other checks, charging $35 for each NSF check. The client was at risk of foreclosure. Fortunately, the client reached out to Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services for help after several weeks of trying to hobble together loans from family.
Attorney Kathy Eveslage sent proof to the law firm that all of the funds in the account were exempt and demanded the immediate release of the levy and return of all funds. The law firm released their lien, but the bank did not respond. Ms. Eveslage knew what to do next. She filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) because the bank’s action violated the federal law. Once the CFPB forwarded the complaint to the bank, the bank immediately restored the money to the client’s account, reversed all NSF charges, and returned the $100 service fee to the client. The client is now able to make mortgage payments on time.