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Sen. Jon Tester protects interests of service members

| November 1, 2018 6:03 PM

Forty-six U.S. Representatives, 49 U.S. Senators and 33 state attorney generals, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, signed letters defending the Military Lending Act, which was passed after the DOD found that servicemembers were disproportionately subjected to unfair high-cost, predatory lending.

Historically protected by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, oversight is being suspended under the bureau’s interim leadership, causing harmful and unnecessary financial strain on military families.

As a former U.S. Air Force air traffic controller I saw lenders prey on military families. Financial distress is the top reason military personnel take their own lives; MLA gave relief to active-duty servicemembers.

The letters mentioned above state: “Protection of our nation’s servicemembers against financial exploitation is a bedrock tenet of federal consumer financial protection law… ‘protect[ing] those who have been obliged to drop their own affairs to take up the burdens of the nation’ by providing special protections. MLA protects against exploitative loans charging more than 36 percent interest or including various predatory features.”

I applaud Sen. Jon Tester, his colleagues and the state attorney generals who urged the bureau to continue protecting military families. Other Montana officials should do likewise.

—Caleb Harper,

Billings