Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and other state AGs today called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to continue protecting military service members against predatory lenders under the Military Lending Act (MLA). In a letter to the CFPB and Director Mulvaney, Herring and a bipartisan coalition of 32 other attorneys general urge the CFPB to reconsider its reported decision to stop examining lenders to ensure they are complying with the MLA.
“It’s hard to believe, but there are shady businesses and lenders who will actually target military service members because they have a steady, albeit modest income, and are often away from home for training or deployment,” said Herring. “State and federal law provide important protections for our service members and their families, but those protections are only valuable if they’re enforced.
“As the attorney general of a state with a huge military and veteran population, I’m extremely concerned about reports that the CFPB under Mick Mulvaney is planning to weaken oversight and protections afforded to our military members. I understand that the Trump administration dislikes the CFPB, but I hope their disdain won’t lead them to abandon our service members over it. I’m going to do all I can to keep our service members and veterans safe from financial exploitation, and I hope I’ll be able to count on our federal partners to do the same,” Herring said.
The MLA, enacted in 2006, protects military service members and their families against exploitative lenders and loans so that service members aren’t overburdened with debt. The CFPB has the authority to examine lenders’ compliance with the MLA to detect potential risks to consumers and ensure that military service members aren’t being offered illegal loans. This is especially important for younger service members who have less experience managing their own finances and may be more vulnerable to predatory loans, the AGs said.
Approximately 60 percent of military families report experiencing stress related to their financial condition. Service members in financial distress may have their security clearances revoked and be compelled to leave the military, resulting in the loss of well-trained service members and additional financial burdens for the military, the AGs argued in the letter.
In 2017, Attorney General Herring launched the “Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide,” a comprehensive guide to help veterans and military families understand their employment rights, consumer protection resources, educational and tax rights and benefits, voting rights and more. The Guide is available at every Department of Veterans Services Benefits Office, every Virginia Community College System Campus, the military assistance provider at every four year college and university, and online at www.VaMilGuide.com.