March 07, 2014

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced this week that servicemembers, veterans, and their families who complained to the Bureau about financial products or services have recovered more than $1 million.

"Military families make enormous sacrifices for our nation and deserve to be protected," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "I am pleased that the Bureau has assisted thousands in cutting through red tape when dealing with their financial institutions. However, the complaints show that many servicemembers, veterans, and their families are not getting the protections accorded to them by federal laws and that raises concern."

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, established the Office of Servicemember Affairs to address specific consumer protection concerns for the nation's military community. A priority of the office is to monitor the consumer complaints the Bureau receives from active-duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

By and large, the complaints submitted by the military track with those of the population at large. In the last fiscal quarter, the Bureau handled on average more than 250 complaints per week from military families. Complaints have come from every state, and every rank and branch of the Armed Services.

Servicemembers, veterans, and their families who complained to the CFPB have received more than $1 million in relief since July 2011. Not all servicemembers, veterans and their family members who submitted complaints received money; a number of them received non-monetary relief — such as cleaning up their credit reports, stopping harassment from debt collectors, and correcting account information — and some had their complaints closed without relief. But the Bureau has seen monetary relief returned to military consumers across all products.

According to the CFPB, the top three consumer complaints submitted by servicemembers, veterans, and their families are mortgages, debt collection, and credit cards.