Congressman Dan Kildee Introduces Bill to Protect Service Members from Predatory Loans
Transparency in Military Lending Act Would Help Protect Service Members from Short-Term Predatory Loans
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced the Transparency in Military Lending Act to protect service members from predatory loans. Congressman Kildee’s legislation would help to address gaps in the Military Lending Act of 2006 that, according to a recent New York Times article, continue to “leave hundreds of thousands of service members vulnerable to potentially predatory loans.” These loans – including pay-day and vehicle title loans – can sometimes carry interest rates of up to 400 percent.
Congressman Kildee’s legislation, which has no direct cost and would not add to the deficit, would require lenders to provide a payment table to service members demonstrating the true cost of a loan over time. In addition, service members must acknowledge they know that other lower interest rate loans, as well financial counseling services via the military, may be available. This would help protect service members and families as well as overall military readiness as sometimes financial distress can result in the loss of mission critical security clearances.
“Service members risk their lives to protect us and we need to honor their service by protecting them from financial threats like those posed by predatory lenders,” Congressman Kildee said. “Right now, these lenders can too easily get around the law designed to protect service members. My legislation, the Transparency in Military Lending Act, would help ensure that service members have the necessary information to make the best possible decision before taking out a pay-day or auto title loan.”
Congressman Kildee’s bill would require that before making a loan to a service member, pay-day and vehicle title loan lenders must provide the military borrower with a sheet of paper separate from the loan documents that clearly states, in bold, 14 point font:
- The service member understands that other lower interest rate emergency loans, including zero percent interest rate loans, may potentially be available through military relief societies and other lenders.
- The service member understands that financial counseling services are available through the Department of Defense.
- The potential cost of the loan over time using a repayment table.
Often, service members are unaware of financial resources available to them as military personnel, including financial counseling services or the ability to qualify for low-cost interest loans from military relief societies or financial institutions. Congressman Kildee’s bill, if passed, would require that before a pay-day loan or vehicle title loan is made to a service member, lenders make them aware of options and opportunities available to military personnel.
“I am looking forward to working to strengthen the protections afforded by the Military Lending Act. My legislation will ensure service members have as much information as possible about the loans they are considering taking out. This is essential to protect military readiness, families and service members,” Congressman Kildee said.