Tennessee, 32 other states call out federal agency over predatory lending to military

    Photo: US Navy

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Tennessee's Attorney General Herbert Slatery III has joined 32 other Attorneys General in a call to protect military servicemembers from financial exploitation.

    In a letter sent to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, the coalition urges Mulvaney to reconsider reports his agency will no longer provide oversight to ensure lenders are not taking advantage of those in the military.

    Under the Military Lending Act (MLA) passed under the George W. Bush administration in 2006, servicemembers and their immediate family members are protected against loans that would charge more than 36% interest or include predatory features.

    The act was amended even further in 2013 by the Barack Obama administration to specify the CFPB was to enforce the act and make sure lenders are in compliance.

    The letter states the Attorneys General are "perplexed" by reports Mulvaney and the CFPB have determined the agency needs more authority to make sure lenders are in compliance given the steps taken by both Bush and Obama. The letter goes on to state disappointment with the CFPB not consulting the Defense Department on their decision given the Defense Department is the primary agency responsible for interpreting the MLA.

    In addition, the Attorneys General say a lack of oversight for predatory lenders could result in the loss of service members due to financial burdens. According to the letter, 60% of military families report experiencing stress related to their financial status.

    Tennessee was joined in sending the letter by Attorneys Generals from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.

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