Petraeus to start service member office at Treasury

Holly Petraeus has been chosen to establish an Office of Servicemember Affairs

The Treasury Department has announced that Holly Petraeus will establish an Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The office will help American military personnel struggling with finances while overseas or after returning home, Treasury officials said. The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which President Barack Obama signed last summer, requires creating such an office at the bureau.

According to a Treasury press release, the office will work in partnership with the Defense Department to help ensure that military families receive the financial education they need to make the best financial decisions, that complaints and questions from military families are monitored and responded to, and that federal and state agencies coordinate their activities to improve consumer protection measures for military families.

Elizabeth Warren, assistant to the president and special adviser to the Treasury secretary for the bureau, expressed her thoughts about Petraeus and the new office in Treasury's blog, "Treasury Notes."

“Wow, I thought. This woman is fired up,” Warren wrote of a meeting with Petraeus. “It soon became clear that Holly would be the perfect person to guide the establishment of the office. She is the kind of leader we need.”


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“A recent online survey commissioned by the FINRA [Investor Education] Foundation found that almost one in four of the enlisted personnel or junior NCO respondents had used a high-cost alternative borrowing method, such as a payday or auto title loan, in the previous five years," Warren wrote. "The same survey found that mainstream credit products can also pose problems: In the previous year, 53 percent of the enlisted personnel and junior NCOs had made only the minimum payment on a credit card, and 30 percent had made a late payment.”

Before coming to the bureau's implementation team, Petraeus was director of the Better Business Bureau’s Military Line program, a partnership with DOD's Financial Readiness Campaign to provide consumer education for active and retired service members and their families.

About the Author

Dan Rowinski is a staff reporter covering communications technologies.

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