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Petraeus takes off the gloves

By Jay MacDonald ·
Monday, July 18, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

Just six months into her job as assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Holly Petraeus is kicking butts and taking names of mortgage lenders who dare to mess with America's military families.

Last week, Petraeus, the wife of Gen. David Petraeus and daughter of Gen. William Knowlton, formally dressed down Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Saxon Mortgage and others at a joint Congressional forum on illegal service member foreclosures before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Holly Petraeus delivers tough talk to mortgage lenders. The question is, will they listen?

Her appearance coincided with the release of a Congressional report, "Fighting on the Home Front: The Growing Problem of Illegal Foreclosures Against U.S. Servicemembers," that fueled her tough talk.

Several mortgage servicing companies recently admitted to multiple violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, including foreclosing on service members who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

SCRA was passed in 2003 to protect active-duty service personnel from improper foreclosures, evictions and other financial consequences of military service. When a service member is called to active duty, SCRA has their back, lowering to 6 percent the interest rate on their mortgage and credit card loans. In 2009, Congress expanded protections under the little-known Homeowners Assistance Program to protect service members from calamitous loss due to the collapse of the housing market.

Petraeus expressed her outrage that any financial institution would ignore these protections.

"Service members should not have to struggle to get the protections they are due under the law. A National Guard wife once told me that her husband had been activated three times, and each time she had had to fight with their bank for months to get the SCRA interest rate reduction applied," she told the forum.

"As we've seen from the recent settlements with Bank of America, Saxon Mortgage and JPMorgan Chase over SCRA-related incidents, experiences like hers, reflecting lenders’ lack of compliance with other SCRA protections, have been far too common."

Petraeus noted that although foreclosure is devastating for any family, it's a "terrible situation" for military families -- both the family back home and the deployed service member who feels helpless to take action to prevent it.

While she acknowledged that the CFPB will not enforce SCRA (that job falls to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice), Petraeus pledged to make her office a conduit through which service member complaints are routed to the appropriate agency.

Mortgage lenders, you've been served: Mess with Holly Petraeus at your peril.

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August 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm

She will have to go! Anyone who stands up for military members is no friend of Obarry's!

August 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm

You have the right to make such a stupid statement as "lived off the taxpayer", but only because they have fought and died for your right to express your opinion, no matter how stupid it is. They also signed a blank check made payable to the taxpayer that said they would be willing to die, to make sure the check was honored. Peshmerga...get a grip on reality.

August 22, 2011 at 6:42 pm

American Peshmerga, If all of the people on the federal dole were to serve the time her husband and father served for this country, then so be it. They have both served in a time of war and deserve our gratitude. Unlike, most liberals on the dole who only expect more for nothing.
You sir or madame are a disgrace to this great nation. Opinion is one thing but dishonoring our service members as being on the government hand out program just shows your lack of intelligence or compassion for the sacrafice these individuals make everyday, If you wish to attack people on the dole. I am greatful that we have individuals that are willing to make the commitment we need from up standing young folks to endure 30 to 40 years of service.

August 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Include American peshmerga in on the draft with buddy John

August 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Bring the Draft just to put John & only Draft John into Military

Richard McAlister
August 17, 2011 at 10:02 am

Another reason I'm delighted to be a USAA member. They bend over backwards to help military families. Do yourself a favor and visit

August 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm

American peshmerga - I would be willing to bet that they and all other servicemembers have "paid" more to this country than you ever will. You forget, servicemembers also pay taxes. In addition, the sacrifices they make on a daily basis are greater than you could possibly fathom. I applaud Mrs. Petraeus and thank her for her continued support of the great servicemen and women of our country. Shame on you, "American peshmerga".

August 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

And in return provided those taxpayers with the greatest freedoms known to earth.

Jay MacDonald
August 16, 2011 at 9:52 am

Oh dear! Shall we see how far we get with an all-volunteer army? Just sayin'.

American peshmerga
August 16, 2011 at 12:54 am

Good Cause.

But lets look at the reality. A government official berating businesspeople. Lose/Lose.
As great as her family's service and contributions to the country has been, they have lived off the taxpayer all their lives.