To Support the Troops, Department of Defense Should Crack Down on Corporate Predators

Today is Veterans Day.

Politicians are making speeches honoring 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. Please join Public Citizen in urging the DoD to support the troops by cracking down on corporate predators.

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.

That’s right — these corporate predators actually deny servicemen and servicewomen a constitutional right they are sworn to defend.

Readers familiar with military and financial policy would be correct in thinking that the Military Lending Act is supposed to protect service members from the worst banking abuses. But 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.

Honor Veterans Day by signing on to Public Citizen’s comment and spreading the word.

Rick Claypool is the online director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.

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