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Changing consumer protection is bad idea

Letter to the editor

POSTED: March 13, 2017 6:00 p.m.

Editor: Senators Isakson and Perdue have proposed a bill for turning control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over to Congressional oversight rather than leave it as an independent federal agency. The bill is titled, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Accountability Act of 2017.

Statements of support for the bill have come solely from the banking industry to include the American Banking Association, Credit Union National Association and the Georgia Bankers Association.

This change in oversight should be of major concern to citizens of Liberty County and military members, specifically, who have been the largest benefactors of this Bureau’s work under the guidance of the General David Petraeus’ spouse, Holly.

While both Senators Isakson and Perdue tout they support the military, their introduction of this bill indicates differently.

This is what the bureau has achieved for military members since its inception six years ago:

• Helped secure tens of millions of dollars in debt relief for 17,000 servicemembers tricked into taking out high-cost loans for computers, videogames, and other electronics purchased at a chain of mall kiosks near military bases.

• Shut down a fee scam in which a retail chain called USA Discounters Ltd. charged tens of thousands of service members for protections that were either guaranteed by law or not actually provided.

• Directed U.S. Bank and a partner company to terminate their deceptive marketing of auto and installment loans and return $6.5 million in hidden fees to military borrowers.

• Ordered a major national auto lender to return $3.2 million in payments obtained through illegal debt-collection practices, including threats to report servicemembers to their commanding officers.

• Ordered Navy Federal Credit Union to pay $28.5 million in penalties and refunds for the use of a variety of illegal debt-collection tactics.

• Worked with the FDIC to provide $60 million in compensation for more than 77,000 service members charged excess interest on student loans by Sallie Mae and Navient.

• Helped the Defense Department put teeth into a 10-year-old law setting a 36 percent interest-rate cap on all consumer loans to servicemembers.

Now is the time to act. Let your senators know you do not support this legislation.

Robert A. Groves

Hinesville

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