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February 11, 2016

Financial Issue Earns a Weigh-In From Hagel

A company’s $92 million settlement with the federal government’s consumer financial watchdog organization doesn’t seem like an obvious concern for the secretary of Defense. That amount of money is peanuts in the defense-budget world, and those kinds of agency actions generally wouldn’t have much impact on national security. But not this settlement, and not for Chuck Hagel.

Here’s what he said about the penalty assessed on Colfax Capital Corp., formerly Rome Finance:

I welcome the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s announcement today that 17,000 service members and other consumers will receive a total of $92 million in debt relief from Rome Finance, whose unlawful, predatory lending schemes specifically targeted active-duty military personnel serving nationwide. No one who serves our country in uniform – especially during a time of war – should ever fall victim to predatory financial practices, and today’s announcement is an important step in righting this wrong. The Department of Defense is grateful to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its efforts on behalf of our troops, veterans, and military families, and we appreciate its ongoing partnership in helping equip service members and their loved ones with the right tools and information so they can safely navigate today’s complex financial world.

The federal agency “has been a frequent target of congressional Republicans, but its focus on shielding those in the military from abusive lenders has won broad support,” writes’s Ben Weyl. notes that the company is about to become extinct because of the federal action.

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