This month, a bipartisan bill was introduced that would expand the Military Lending Act (MLA) to all Americans. MOAA supports this bill along with 28 military and veteran service organizations because it effectively expands lending protections to members of the National Guard and Reserves, veterans, commissioned officers in the United States Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and survivors.
The Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (H.R. 5050) from Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) and Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) uses the successful blueprint created by the MLA to expand these existing laws and rules to improve the Truth in Lending Act.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Legislator to Expand Lending Protections]
An identical measure, S. 2833, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), with Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) as an original cosponsor.
The MLA is arguably the most effective piece of legislation ever enacted to provide lending protections for consumers. Loan data from the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society show just how effective: In 2006, more than 1,500 sailors and Marines took out more than $1 million in loans to help escape debt problems with payday lenders. Just over a decade later, the number dropped to three people needing less than $4,000.
The impact is not felt just by active-duty members; the Defense Department estimated its savings total $133 million each year in involuntary separations.
The scope of the MLA is limited. As MOAA said in a letter to the leadership of the Senate Banking Committee and House Financial Services committee leadership, “These fair and prudent protections should not cease for someone who transitions from active service to veteran status, loses a loved one in service, or who has not yet been called to active status.”
[RELATED: MOAA's Finance Page]
The key aspects of these vital protections are:
- A 36% rate cap that encapsulates lending fees for most forms of consumer credit.
- The elimination of mandatory right waivers and allotments.
- The end of early repayment penalties.
Adding consumer protections is incredibly popular across the nation, with more than 70% support from everyday Americans and individuals who have used payday loans. Across the nation, 16 states and the District of Columbia have implemented lending caps and changes that have left consumers much better off than with unregulated lending.
Good policy should not be limited to only those on active duty. Call your members of Congress and ask them to support The Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (H.R. 5050 and S. 2833).