Are community credit unions exempt from obtaining relief from an automatic stay? 12 Answers as of June 11, 2013

My vehicle was financed by a local community credit union. I filed chapter 7 bankruptcy and the credit union repossessed my vehicle two months later without obtaining relief from the automatic stay. Are credit unions EXEMPT from obtaining relief? Were they legally allowed to repossess my vehicle at any time while I was in bankruptcy?

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Community Credit Unions are not exempt from the automatic stay.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
Benson Law Firm
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
Credit unions are subject to the automatic stay, just as all creditors are. If the credit union failed to get permission from the judge via a motion to lift the automatic stay, it may have violated the law and may be subject to sanction. If you do not have an attorney, now would be a good time to consult with one.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/22/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
The credit union must first obtain relief from stay before repossessing. Demand the car be returned.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/22/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Credit unions are not automatically exempt from the automatic stay.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/21/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
No, they are not exempt. That is a stay violation. You should see a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/21/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    No one is exempt from the Automatic Stay - even the IRS stops collection action. This should be brought to the attention to your attorney and the Bankruptcy Trustee.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/21/2011
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq. | Benjamin Tiller
    Community credit unions are not exempt obtaining relief from the automatic stay. Did you have an attorney representing you during your bankruptcy? As long as the automatic stay was in effect when they took your car, you should file a motion with the court to hold the credit union in contempt. Call me if you have any questions.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    They are not exempt from the stay and are potentially in violation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    I am not aware of any law that exempts any credit union from the automatic stay that takes in effect when you file for bankruptcy and which remains in effect until 30 days after the initial date of the meeting of creditors. However, it sounds like the automatic stay may not have been in effect as to the vehicle two months after you filed for bankruptcy. This assumes that you filed a Chapter 7 case and did not reaffirm the debt. Most lenders do not take the chance of repossessing a vehicle until your bankruptcy case is closed without obtaining relief of stay first but your credit union apparently took the chance. It sounds like technically they did not need relief of stay in your case. You should tell your bankruptcy attorney because if the stay was violated then you are entitled to damages from the credit union plus attorneys' fees and getting the vehicle delivered back to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 6/11/2013
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    Absolutely not. If they did not obtain relief from the automatic stay from the bankruptcy court before repossessing your car, they are in violation of the automatic stay. If they had knowledge and notice of your bankruptcy case, then the violation is a willful one and you can recover sanctions against them under section 362(h) of the bankruptcy code.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/20/2011
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