According to my calendar, today is actually Veterans Day, though yesterday was celebrated as such, with many companies giving the day off from work. A nice respite for veterans and those who honor them with public accolades, speeches and parades. We all have friends or relatives who are veterans and these days its easier to use electronic media to wish them well and thank them for their service. But, it would be nice to take an active part in protecting them from predatory lenders. This advice comes from Public Citizen.
We honor the sacrifices made by servicemen and servicewomen, but being ripped off by predatory lenders — many of whom prey specifically on residents of military bases — should NOT be among our veterans’ sacrifices.
The Department of Defense has the authority to rein in the unpatriotic predators who gouge service members.
Service members are targeted by “payday” lenders because military rules require them to maintain good finances, but the realities of service — such as sudden relocations to different parts of the country — often result in unanticipated expenses.
Meanwhile, forced arbitration clauses buried in the fine print of the terms for these high-interest (as in 500 percent) loans mean that our troops are denied their right to a day in court.
The Military Lending Act is supposed to protect service members from banking abuses. The sad truth is that industry lobbyists poked loopholes in the 2007 law that are big enough to drive an armored personnel carrier through.
Now, the DoD is working to close these loopholes — and is accepting comments from the public for a limited amount of time.
Add your name to Public Citizen’s comment urging the Department of Defense to stop predatory lenders who prey on our armed forces. Click here: http://action.citizen.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12622
Public Citizen’s Online Action Team