The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and a number of other governmental regulators, recently revealed a number of new protections for active duty servicemembers who receive permanent change of station orders, the agency announced.
The changes were intended to give military members and their families greater peace of mind as they scramble to make sure they can adequately pack up their lives on relatively short notice.
“Those who serve our country deserve to be given the best service by their mortgage servicer,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Permanent Change of Station orders can complicate a servicemember’s homeownership decisions in ways that civilians may not experience. This guidance provides specific notice to mortgage servicers that this country already has substantial laws in place to help military members in this still-recovering housing market.”
PCS orders are not negotiable and come with little advance warning, meaning that military families will have to either find a buyer or renter in a short period of time in order to reduce their costs for a home they no longer live in, the report said. Often – particularly given the state of the real estate market – it can be difficult to do so, and as such, it may be that they can qualify for some sort of assistance, such as a loan modification or short sale, that can remediate these concerns.
The new guidance generally addresses the issues that military members face such as access to all the available information about assistance they may qualify for, provided by their mortgage servicer. It further mandates that this information be given in a clear and concise manner so that families have a chance to understand them as best as possible, and will prevent servicers from giving borrowers potentially harmful advice so that they can better qualify for assistance.
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The CFPB has been significantly increasing the number of protections it provides to consumers in recent months, ramping up its operations under Cordray, who took office in January. This has rankled some in the financial sector, over which the agency has full regulatory control, but helped consumers considerably.
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