New protections for troops with PCS moves
Published: June 21, 2012
WASHINGTON — Officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday offered new guidance designed to provide better education and notification for troops facing housing struggles related to permanent change of station moves, calling it an important step toward protecting those who serve.
The guidance also more clearly spells out unfair and abusive practices by mortgage companies in an effort to help regulators go after deceptive lenders. That includes companies that require troops’ waive legal rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to keep their homes, or withhold information about financial assistance programs from them.
At issue are troops whose homes have declined in value when their PCS orders arrive. Selling the homes can leave them in debt, but continuing the mortgage can also sap their finances.
Those military homeowners are eligible for certain loan modifications, short-sale arrangements, and Pentagon financial assistance programs. Mortgage companies are required to provide information on those resources to troops who receive PCS orders, but don’t always do that.
The new guidance does not cover troops already victimized by unfair mortgage practices. Earlier this year, White House officials announced plans for compensation and lower interest rates for troops cheated by financing companies.