Today, Holly Petraeus testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. She spoke about the unique role of the Office of Servicemember Affairs in addressing financial issues that affect military families:
Within the CFPB, our job is to make sure that every division of the CFPB understands the unique military community and the financial issues that impact it. I plan to work with our examiners to ensure they are current on military-specific issues, to encourage our enforcement team to take action against financial providers who break the law to harm servicemembers and to work with the consumer response unit to be sure that it is attuned to the military community and responsive to its concerns. We also plan to work closely with the consumer financial education team at the CFPB. History has shown us that best practices developed in support of the military can translate to the larger US community – and that the military can be a great test bed for innovative financial education products that could have an application to the population at large.
Protecting our servicemembers from suffering devastating financial repercussions for answering the call to service is not only the right thing to do – it is also important to our national security. Military personnel who are distracted by financial problems cannot do their jobs to the best of their abilities. In fact, hundreds of people in the military have their essential security clearances revoked each year due to financial problems, which then means they can’t do the job they were trained for. A recent Department of Defense survey found that servicemembers consider their finances to be the second largest source of stress in their lives, behind career concerns but ahead of deployments, health, family, and war.
You can read the full text of her testimony here.