The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has returned more than $5 million “to the pockets of servicemembers and their families” in 2015, which the bureau recouped through enforcement actions, according to an annual report released today.
“The complaints highlighted in today’s report show that members of the military continue to have serious problems when it comes to debt collection,” Director Richard Cordray said in a release. “The Bureau will continue to closely monitor complaints from servicemembers to ensure our brave men and women are getting the protection they deserve.”
The report found that servicemembers have been submitting debt collection complaints to the Bureau at nearly twice the rate of non-military consumers.
In October 2015, for example, the CFPB brought an enforcement action against Security National Automotive Acceptance Company (SNAAC), a Mason, Ohio-based auto lender, for allegedly engaging in abusive debt collection practices against servicemembers and their families.
In the action, SNAAC was required to pay $2.28 million in consumer refunds and a $1 million fine, plus the company was required to end threats to contact commanding officers, among other actions.
SNAAC neither admitted nor denied the allegations of the complaint, according to the CFPB. “We are agreeing to this settlement in an effort to move forward serving our customers in the respectful, honorable manner we have always done,” a SNAAC spokesman said in a statement sent to AFN in October.
Of the 19,000 complaints from servicemembers and their families handled by the CFPB in 2015, nearly half were about debt collection, according to today’s report.