Legislation would alert soldiers of bad credit reports

NORWALK – Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D) has introduced legislation that would allow credit reporting agencies to notify deployed military service members when a “negative information alert” is posted on their credit report. The bipartisan legislation, titled the Credit Reporting Act for Military Families, was jointly introduced by Sanchez and Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn.

“Our service members make tremendous sacrifices for our country, their credit score should not be one of them,” said Sanchez. “However, too many of them face challenges when they return home because of missed payments incurred while they were deployed. The Credit Reporting Act for Military Families will give service members more control over their finances and the peace of mind that they will not encounter unforeseen problems when they are ready to purchase a car or a home.”

The Credit Reporting Act for Military Families allows deployed service personnel to notify credit reporting agencies of a military deployment. Secondly, it authorizes reporting agencies to contact deployed service members when an adverse action is posted on their credit report. Both actions would give creditors more context about the circumstances under which service members accrue missed payments.

“When men and women in uniform deploy on behalf of our country they should not be stuck worrying about their credit rating,” said Lamborn. “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work with Representative Sánchez on this important bill which will provide enhanced credit protections for service members and help ensure that our nation’s heroes have the tools they need to keep their own finances in order while serving our country.”

Sanchez introduced the legislation after district resident John Kelsall, president and CEO of the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, shared with her stories of service members and veterans who had trouble obtaining business and home loans because of missed payments while they were deployed.

“Many times our military members find themselves with dings on their credit that mostly happens when they are deployed, through no fault of their own,” said Kelsall. “It doesn’t seem fair that those who volunteer to serve their country should suffer the consequence of paperwork mishaps.”

In addition to affecting personal finances, poor credit can also negatively impact security clearance for military personnel. According to VeteransPlus, a non-profit that promotes financial literacy among military families, delinquent indebtedness is the number one reason the Department of Defense denies or revokes security clearances for service members.



Published: May 22, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 06