New consumer agency will have DoD component

Monday - 1/10/2011, 5:40pm EST

By Jared Serbu
Reporter
Federal News Radio

As the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Agency builds its staff in advance of the watchdog's formal launch, it has filled one key post with a high-profile name.

Holly Petraeus, will lead the Office of Servicemember Affairs, agency director Elizabeth Warren announced last week. Petraeus is married to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which created the CFPA last summer, explicitly required an entity to protect and advise members of the military.

"Servicemembers and their families are sometimes easy targets for unscrupulous lenders," Warren said in an online posting announcing Petraeus' hiring on Jan. 6. "Even families that stay with mainstream lenders can struggle as the impact of separation and frequent moving takes a financial toll, leaving a family mired in debt and trying to digest reams of fine print."

Petraeus already had expertise in providing financial guidance to members of the armed forces. Until now, she served as the director of the Better Business Bureau's Military Line service, a financial advice program that partners with the Defense Department's Financial Readiness Campaign.

Petraeus said one area on which she intends to focus is unscrupulous lending offers made over the Internet. She said she was concerned with "bad deals and outright scams on the Internet, and how difficult it's been to even find out who has loaned you that money or who has run off with your money and to enforce against them. There's a lot of work to be done there. It's an area that's exploding. It's just too easy to set up a scam or bad deal on the Internet."

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