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Military Consumer Protection Act Would Protect Servicemembers

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By Admin on June 23, 2015 3:56 PM

The armed forces take care of us, so it's only right that we take care of servicemembers. A group of senators are proposing new legislation that would protect U.S. servicemembers from abusive financial practices.

Nine Democrats have introduced legislation to allow the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to oversee and enforce provisions of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA). That's a lot of acronyms, so let's take a look at how the new law would work.

New Powers

As it stands now, the CFPB does not have any direct enforcement authority for the SCRA, which has led to incomplete enforcement and many referrals of cases to the Department of Justice. Instead, the Military Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) would not only give the CFPRB enforcement power over SCRA provisions, it would make SCRA enforcement a long-term priority for the CFPB.

Under the MCPA, CFRB oversight and enforcement would be extended to ten provisions, including:

  • Future financial transactions, excluding insurance
  • Default judgments, excluding child custody proceedings
  • Interest rates on pre-service debts
  • Evictions
  • Purchase or lease installment contracts
  • Mortgages and trusts
  • Motor vehicle leases
  • Telephone service contracts
  • Waiver of rights pursuant to a written agreement, excluding bailments

Teaming Up

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created after the financial crisis of 2008 in an effort to protect consumers in financial markets, primarily covering mortgages, credit cards, and payday lenders. The CFPB can enforce federal consumer financial protection laws and restrict deceptive or unfair financial practices.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was enacted to protect military service personnel from civil lawsuits while on active duty and for up to a year afterward. Together, the two acts would protect members of the military and their families from being taken advantage of in financial practices and products.

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