Watchdog Agency to Take Up Fight Against Military Payday Loan Scams Once More

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The new leadership at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has pledged to discard the Trump administration's "relaxed approach" and resume targeting payday loan scams that trap troops in endless cycles of debt.

Acting Director Dave Uejio said Thursday that the watchdog agency will be "reversing policies of the last administration that weakened enforcement and supervision" of business practices and eased oversight of the payday loan industry.

"As of today, it is the official policy of the CFPB to supervise lenders with regard to the Military Lending Act," which limits interest rates on most types of consumer loans to 36%, Uejio said in a statement to CFPB staff. "And we are planning to rescind public statements conveying a relaxed approach to enforcement of the laws in our care."

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The CFPB policy change was welcomed by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"This is great news for our troops and their families. The Military Lending Act makes an enormous difference for active-duty members of the military, and I am pleased the CFPB will fully uphold the law once more and use the tools at their disposal to shield our troops from abusive practices," he said in a statement Thursday.

The CFPB had previously taken an aggressive stance on predatory payday loan practices under Holly Petraeus, the wife of retired Army Gen. David Petraeus. She resigned as head of the Office of Servicemembers Affairs at CFPB when President Donald Trump took office.

President Joe Biden signaled his intention to change policy at CFPB soon after taking the oath of office Jan. 20. He named Uejio, a nine-year veteran at CFPB, to serve as acting director until his choice as the new director, Rohit Chopra, can be confirmed by the Senate.

The 38-year-old Chopra, currently a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, will replace Kathy Kraninger, who served as CFPB director for two years. She resigned Jan. 20 at the request of the Biden administration and stated on Twitter, "I am proud of all that we accomplished on behalf of consumers."

Information on submitting a complaint to CFPB can be found here.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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