Officials Defend Military Members Against Financial PredatorsMilitary members and their families are part of a demographic which is particularly vulnerable to predatory lenders. Up until now, the government has responded by instituting rules and laws designed to decrease the chances that service members becoming the victims of predatory loans. However, that has not always worked.  That’s why the Office of Service member Affairs (OSA) was recently unveiled as the new vanguard in protecting military members and their families.

The OSA is part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent watchdog organization created last year by Congress.

The OSA is working with the Department of Defense to ensure that military members and their families receive consistent and clear financial education and to monitor complains and questions. It’s also fostering communication among federal and state agencies to improve consumer protections for military families.

The OSA appears to be an excellent agency, at least in concept. Military members face special circumstances which make it difficult for them financially and makes them particularly vulnerable to certain financial abuses.  According to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, nearly one out of every three enlisted military members relied on payday loans, auto-title loans, or other risky borrowing practices in the previous five years and more than a third found it difficult to cover their monthly expenses. These financial obstacles can be exasperated when the primary breadwinner is deployed for active duty. Many spouses face foreclosure or are forced to seek the protection of bankruptcy because they are unable to meet their debt obligations. In the midst of trouble, some service members and their families may be targeted by financial predators and fall into even deeper financial problems. Hopefully OSA will serve as shield to our military members and their families.

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