By Brandon Bosworth, Assistant Editor, Ho`okele
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Chapel hosted a town hall meeting featuring Holly Petraeus of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Oct. 8. Petraeus discussed financial topics of importance to service members and their families.
Founded in 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the first federal agency solely focused on consumer financial protection.
Petraeus is the assistant director of the office of service member affairs section of the agency, which works on financial challenges affecting service members, veterans and their families.
During her presentation, Petraeus said that problems with debt collectors are the top source of complaints to her office.
“We get a lot of calls about the bad behavior of debt collectors,” she said. “Some collectors even threaten to have your security clearance pulled. Others contact a person’s commanding officer. That’s illegal.”
Petraeus also talked about questionable auto loans geared toward military consumers. She told of one service member who took out a loan for a $1,200 car that had an effective interest rate of 400 percent.
“He would have ended up paying over $15,000 for a $1,200 car,” she said. “That may be legal, but not what I’d call ethical.”
Petraeus stressed that it is important for service members to come forward with their financial issues, as the CFPB might be able to intervene.
“We’ve been able to get back over $200 million for service members,” she said. “And if we see a pattern of questionable behavior from a company, we can refer the case to our enforcement division.”
For more information or to make a complaint, visit www.consumerfinance.gov.