Members of Military Targeted by Predatory Financial Practices


"When you send a man or woman to go fight a battle for this country and off to war, they need to be focused on one thing, and that is doing the job, two things really--doing their job as their commander in chief tells them to do and two getting home safely to their family," Biden said.

Last week, financial regulators introduced new guidance that would help military members deal with mortgage companies when they have underwater loans or are forced to move to new bases for work. The new guidelines would alleviate servicemembers of the burden of having to sell their homes in difficult housing markets if they face a Permanent Change of Station order. An estimated 185,000 servicemembers are homeowners who receive PCS order each year.

Biden and Petraeus argued for the need to restructure financial education programs for new members of the military as well as make training and resources more accessible and work to expand programs to the Internet. Petraeus, who said she understands first-hand as a military spouse the hardships servicemembers and their families face, said she feels an obligation to protect servicemembers from predatory practices.

"It makes me very indignant. It makes me angry, and that's part of the reason I do this job because our servicemembers, we've asked so much of them, especially in the last 10 years. They're volunteers. They volunteered to go serve their country in a place where they may be at risk in their lives and the fact that they're being financially hassled here at home when they're doing that kind service for us, I don't think is OK," Petraeus said. "I feel like it's incumbent on me to see what I can do to protect them."

"I really do have to wonder about some of the people that apparently without conscience target the military to rip them off," Petraeus added. "There are people that just seem to -- it's all about money and they don't care how they get it."

Attorneys general across the country are working to protect service men and women from predatory practices in the financial industry, and Biden sent a warning to those engaging in such practices.

"If you don't follow the law in any given state or a federal law, then you're going to have state authorities and or federal authorities coming after you for making sure you don't rip off some of the most capable and patriotic people serving this nation as we speak," Biden said.

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