U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-O.H.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today reintroduced the Military Families Credit Reporting Act, a bill aimed at protecting servicemembers from financial ruin due to negative credit reporting—such as from missed bill payments—while they are deployed on active duty.
If enacted, this legislation would help military servicemembers and veterans ensure that their credit reports more accurately reflect their full financial profile when they apply for future mortgages, loans, lines of credit, and jobs. It would also help them keep better track of their credit while they are deployed. Many servicemen and women have trouble receiving loan approvals because of late payment indicators on their credit reports. Missed payments are one of the top reasons military families go into debt, and delinquent indebtedness is the number one reason the Department of Defense denies or revokes security clearances for servicemembers. Under current law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act offers certain consumer protection rights for servicemembers. However, more is required to fit the unique financial challenges that servicemembers can face upon their return from deployment.
“Our military servicemembers should have the tools they need to protect their credit while they are serving our country,” said Sen. Menendez, who has led this effort in the past two Congresses. “This commonsense legislation would help military families prevent small credit events or errors from snowballing into major problems that can endanger their financial well-being. I have always believed a grateful nation shows its gratitude in the opportunities we provide those who have served, that is why I will continue fighting to keep our promise to our nation’s military families and veterans by finding rational policies that help those who have served this country with honor.”
“Our men and women in uniform make enough sacrifices for our country — their credit rating shouldn’t be one of them. This common-sense bill will strengthen credit protections for service members and help ensure that veterans won’t have to battle creditors because they were deployed,” said Sen. Brown.
“I am proud to join my colleagues to re-introduce the Military Families Credit Reporting Act, legislation that will have a lasting impact on the lives of New Jersey’s veterans and their families,” said Sen. Booker. “This legislation demonstrates gratitude to our veterans by investing in their financial well-being – which is essential to empowering these brave men and women as they return to civilian life.”
The Credit Reporting Act for Military Families will improve the Fair Credit Reporting Act by providing military personnel the opportunity to ensure their credit reports provide full and accurate information to potential creditors. It allows service personnel to notify credit reporting agencies of a military deployment and how to contact them, so that a credit reporting agency can notify them of an adverse reported event—such as a missed payment—before it becomes a bigger problem. It also allows the consumer to include a note in his or her credit report that a negative reported event occurred while the consumer was on active duty.