The CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA) has issued its fifth annual report to Congress addressing issues raised and complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
This year, however, the Bureau took a novel approach by presenting the report “within the construct of the ‘military lifecycle’” in an attempt to “consider issues and complaints in the very context in which they arise.” The “military lifecycle” takes readers through the stages of a military career, beginning with the signing of an enlistment contract at the recruiter’s office and ending with veteran status and retirement.
The report highlights some of the most common issues that servicemembers face at each stage of the lifecycle. For example, the report provides that new recruits have consistently reported having difficulties getting their loan servicers to apply the SCRA’s six-percent interest-rate cap, particularly with respect to student loan products, and that servicemembers deployed overseas have suffered unlawful auto repossession and unlawful property foreclosures, as evidenced by the DOJ’s having litigated five repossession cases in the last five years.
In a more typical fashion, the report highlights data and trends from complaints submitted by military consumers. The report states that, as of April 1, 2017, the CFPB has handled approximately 74,800 complaints from members of the military community since July 2011. The three most-complained-about products or services have been debt collection, mortgages, and credit reporting. Of the total military complaints, approximately 42% (31,500) have involved debt collection.
The report highlights the Military Lending Act (MLA) as extending protections to servicemembers’ spouses and children (“dependents”). In addition to providing the MLA’s historical background and an outline of the final rule issued by the Department of Defense (DoD), the report indicates that “OSA remains committed to supporting the Bureau’s enforcement and supervisory responsibilities with respect to the MLA” and that it “will provide technical assistance at DoD’s request and continue to consult with DoD on the implementing regulation.”
The report also describes CFPB outreach efforts and educational programs and products designed to “help to provide information essential to allowing our servicemembers, veterans, and their families to succeed in an increasingly-complex financial marketplace.”
Prior Posts on CFPB OSA Annual Reports: