The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on March 6 announced that U.S. service members, veterans, and their families who complained to the agency about financial products or services have recovered more than $1 million. This was reported as part of the CFPB’s snapshot of complaints from military consumers, which covers more than 14,000 grievances received by the bureau from July 21, 2011, through Feb. 1, 2014.
"I am pleased that the Bureau has assisted thousands in cutting through red tape when dealing with their financial institutions," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "However, the complaints show that many service members, veterans, and their families are not getting the protections accorded to them by federal laws and that raises concern."
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created the CFPB and established the Office of Servicemember Affairs to address consumer protection issues within the U.S. military. The office monitors complaints that the CFPB receives from active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. The complaints submitted by the military generally reflect those of the general population, with the top three types of complaints centering on mortgages, debt collection, and credit cards. The CFPB's specific concerns about service members include aggressive and deceptive tactics by debt collectors, inefficient customer service by student loan servicers, interest rates above 36 percent from payday lenders, and mortgage servicers’ lack of knowledge about military-specific programs.
Not all service members, veterans, or family members who submitted complaints to the CFPB received monetary relief. Others received relief such as repaired credit reports, the cessation of harassment from debt collectors, and corrected account information. Others had their complaints closed without relief. Monetary relief included a median amount of $470 for mortgages, $143 for credit cards, and $125 for a bank account or service.