Pioneer Financial Services applauds Congressional crackdown on lending practices that threaten U.S. troops

Pioneer Financial Services, a national provider of financial services to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, applauds the recent introduction of federal legislation to combat predatory lending practices that threaten the financial stability of U.S. military personnel and their families.

Military leaders, consumer groups, and the media have exposed "predatory" lending practices that intentionally target U.S. military personnel, especially young service members whose salaries cannot support excessive debt and who are subject to military conduct codes that stress financial solvency. Unfortunately, with a number of enlisted military personnel lacking basic financial management capabilities, many fall victim to ill-advised financial lending practices.

Introduced by Representative Sam Graves (MO), H.R. 5300, The Servicemembers Anti-Predatory Lending Protection Act of 2004, will provide new consumer lending protections specifically for men and women in the U.S. military.

H.R. 5300 would eliminate the most flagrant predatory practices, including the application of exorbitant annual percentage rates (sometimes more than 500%), as well as the "rolling over" of small, short-term loans that perpetuate a "cycle of indebtedness" for young service members and their families. Specifically, H.R. 5300 would impose a cap on annual percentage rates (APRs) allowed for loans entered into with military personnel and a limitation on the number of rollover loans permitted.

H.R. 5300 will also eliminate questionable lending practices that not only hurt the long-term financial stability of U.S. military families but, according to defense officials, also threaten our military's operational readiness. Each branch has identified personal financial issues as one of the most important issues facing military families.

Pioneer Services Representatives believe the goal of the financial services industry should be to provide military men and women with both the educational tools and necessary consumer protections to keep them out of the "debt cycle." H.R. 5300 will provide our military service members with those much-needed consumer-lending protections.

In addition to supporting federal lending protections for our troops, Pioneer Services Representatives are also committed to increasing financial educational awareness for service members. Pioneer Services' Financial Fitness Education initiative educates service members about credit, debt, and lending issues through free videos, take-home reference guides and educational classes. This includes a recent collaborative effort with Park University and the Pioneer Services Foundation to provide financial education courses and credits to U.S. military personnel.