CFPB Working for You: Safeguarding Soldiers from Financial Harm

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Friday, September 12th, 2014

Members of the armed forces face major obstacles in keeping their finances in order. Many soldiers are stationed abroad and rely on family members to keep track of their money. Others living on military bases in the United States are often the targets of predatory lenders pushing pricey loans.

Cammie of Columbus, Ohio became the victim of identity theft while she was stationed abroad, and years later is still seeing the false information on her credit report. She told us about her frustration in getting those errors removed:

“I was stationed overseas in the Army for 5++ years. While gone someone used my Social Security Number for years. When I started fighting it collectors thought I was the person that did it even though I had military orders that showed I wasn’t even on this continent!! The collectors called me all kinds of names and made all kinds of illegal threats and the credit reporting agency never checked the tons of proof I sent in. Finally got a lawyer but as soon as it came off one report another credit agency would just put it back on theirs within weeks!!! It is a maddening vicious circle were the credit agencies don’t just report info but they have a system to keep you down no matter how hard you fight. . . . I served my country but now, I fight the credit agencies just to get the truth reported and the lies erased. Nine years and counting.”

That’s why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking action to make it easier for servicemembers and other consumers to get help. Those who have a problem with a financial services provider can get assistance by filing a complaint with the CFPB online or at 855-411-2372. After receiving the complaint, the CFPB will correspond with the company until the problem is resolved, or at least until the consumer receives a satisfactory reply. The CFPB’s help can make a real change in consumers’ lives – please watch some of these video stories from consumers who’ve been assisted by the CFPB.

The CFPB also provides resources to servicemembers on financial issues. Its Office of Servicemember Affairs has put together advice on topics like dealing with student loans and finding a legitimate financial advisor. It also produces webcasts to help soldiers with mortgage or debt problems. Last year, the CFPB announced a plan to pair veterans in need with financial coaches to help them navigate their finances after leaving the military.

The CFPB has become an indispensable resource for servicemembers and other consumers with financial concerns. But the big banks are threatened by the CFPB and have encouraged their allies in Congress to introduce a series of bills in Congress to curtail its ability to help consumers. That’s why we’re asking you to step in – tell your Congressperson that you support the CFPB!

Are you or a loved one a member of the military who has been helped by the CFPB? Please share your story!

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