CFPB Works to Help Military Families Avoid Financial Traps

Last week, the National Military Family Association attended a briefing by Holly Petraeus, from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Office of Servicemember Affairs. Petraeus’ office has been tasked with three specific missions: 

  • providing service members with financial education and tools  
  • monitoring and addressing complaints from service members and military families about consumer financial products 
  • creating protection measures in response to deceptive financial practices

Service members are in a uniquely vulnerable population because of their service commitments. Military service requires service members to pay their debts under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), their pay is steady and bills can be collected directly from paychecks. They also tend to make big financial decisions at a younger age (seeking out loans). The military lifestyle can also make it difficult to fight back against lenders who take advantage of service member borrowers challenged by deployments, moves, and fear of what might happen if they don’t “pay up.” Deceptive lenders can intimidate service members and families into overpaying or signing one sided contracts by making threats or taking advantage of a service member who does not know his rights.

In order to provide protection to service members, the CFPB relies on communication from military families when things “don’t seem to add up” with a lender, whether it is a student loan, a payday loan, or a mortgage. You can submit a complaint here. Find out more about what the CFPB is doing for military families.

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