Sánchez Introduces Bill to Protect Service Members’ Credit
WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) today re-introduced the Fair Credit Reporting for Servicemembers Act. This legislation would allow service members to dispute any negative information, or “dings,” on their credit report that occurred while they were serving in a combat zone or aboard a U.S. vessel.
“America's service members devote years of their lives to protecting and defending this country. But when they are overseas, life doesn’t stop at home. Sometimes a bill gets lost in the mail, a credit card on file expires, or an unauthorized credit card is issued. This legislation ensures our service members’ credit reports more accurately reflect that full picture, so life isn’t held up when they return to their families,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez.
First introduced in 2014, the Fair Credit Reporting for Servicemembers Act came from meetings Sánchez had with two courageous parents, John Kelsall, then President of the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and his wife, long-time Southern California non-profit leader, Teri. They lost their son, Jonas, a Lieutenant Commander and proud Navy Seal during a tour in Afghanistan in 2011. To keep their son’s legacy alive, they founded a nonprofit veterans business incubator to assist returning U.S. military veterans.
While updating Congresswoman Sánchez on the organization’s challenges and successes, they shared one hurdle that kept coming up over and over. Service members and veterans were having trouble obtaining loans to help grow their businesses. This was often due to missing payments that were out of their control during deployments, resulting in hits to their credit.
“I knew something had to change,” continued Sánchez. “Our country continues to ask so much from our men and women in uniform. I’m proud to support this bill that delivers some semblance of financial peace to those risking their lives to protect our nation and our families.”
On January 29, 2020, the Fair Credit Reporting for Servicemembers Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020.
Organizations supporting this legislation include: the National Military Family Association, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), and the Consumer Federation of America.
More infomation on the bill is available here.