Complaints from military servicemembers and families regarding their mortgages and other financial products and servicers have steadily risen each quarter since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started accepting them in July 2011, the CFPB said.
In 2012, 3,455 complaints were received. So far, there have been more than 5,000 from the servicemembers, veterans and families.
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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides financial protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, evictions, foreclosures, civil judicial proceedings, and income tax payments. They need to be verified before they receive any of these benefits but you can look into that more at www.servicememberscivilreliefact.com/about-us/military-status-verification.
Servicemembers’ SCRA rights are being violated. Hundreds of servicemembers are eligible for compensation in wrongful-foreclosure settlements.
The Bureau has released its semi-annual snapshot of complaints from the military. Problems with mortgages usually account for more than half of the complaints, followed by credit cards.
Overall, statistics for complaints submitted by the military track closely with those of the population at large, the bureau said.
Holly Petraeus, the CFPB’s assistant director, Office of Servicemember Affairs, urges all members of the military community to contact the bureau with any questions or complaints.
“We can’t guarantee what the results will be, but we will bring your concerns to the attention of companies, help address your complaints, and work with other federal and state agencies on improving consumer protection for the military,” Petraeus said.
Petraeus offered these examples:
- An active-duty airman received permanent change-of-station orders in April 2012 – meaning he had no choice but to move – and tried to get approval from his mortgage servicer to sell his house in a short sale.In August, the company denied his request. He contacted his judge advocate to find out his rights; the judge advocate contacted the CFPB and learned about the guidance the CFPB had issued to clarify what mortgage servicers should do when contacted by a servicemember who has received PCS orders.Based on that guidance, the judge advocate advised the airman to submit a complaint to the CFPB. The bureau monitored the complaint and helped address the issues raised in the complaint. After previously denying the short sale, the company re-reviewed the airman’s request and approved it.
- An active-duty army officerhad been told by her student loan servicer that they were going to terminate her SCRA rights unless she provided a new set of orders that contained an end date.As an officer, she did not have orders with an end date, so the servicer terminated her interest-rate protection while she was still serving on active duty.The consumer complained to the CFPB, and even before the complaint was routed to the relevant enforcement agency, a representative from the bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs was able to communicate with the servicer and ensure the rate was reinstated.