News Column

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber Stands Up for Members of Armed Services in Fight Against Predatory Lenders

February 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 -- Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz. (2nd CD), issued the following news release:

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber is standing up for the men and women in the military, telling the secretary of defense to close loopholes in predatory lending legislation, work with Congress to increase financial education and suggest ways to make current law even stronger.

"Our men and women in uniform volunteer every day to protect us. We should all be doing our part to protect them." Barber wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Barber's effort was supported by 31 of his Republican and Democratic colleagues.

Barber, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, noted that in 2007, Congress passed the Military Lending Act to extend financial protections to military service members. That law addressed the troubling practice of lenders targeting military service members with high interest rate and predatory loans.

Last year, Barber supported congressional action to give the Department of Defense authority to expand the protections. "Yet our service members continue to remain at risk," Barber wrote.

Barber cited a New York Times article that told of Petty Officer First Class Vernaye Kelly who has been trapped by payday loans for more than a decade.

Kelly has had a number of double-digit interest payday loans and has even had to take out additional loans to cover her existing debt.

"We ask that the Department of Defense work quickly to review current regulation and immediately close these loopholes that predatory lenders are exploiting," Barber wrote. "Additionally, we ask that the Department provide recommendations for congressional action that would strengthen the law for our service members."

A copy of Barber's letter is attached as a pdf.

Rep. Barber letter on payday lenders.pdf

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Source: Targeted News Service

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