Posted On: December 28, 2013 by Nancy Barron

Holly Petraeus - Unsung Hero of America's Armed Forces

images.jpeg When active members of the U.S. Armed Forces return from a tour of duty, and veterans retire at the end of their service, there is one strong woman who is working to protect their financial interests at home.

Holly Petraeus was President Obama's pick to head the Office of Servicemember Affairs, a special department within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, and Obama signed it into law, the Office of Servicemember Affairs was tasked broadly with monitoring CFPB regulatory examiners to keep an eye out for military-specific issues.

The Office lead by Petraeus is responsible for educational initiatives to promote financial literacy; monitoring and responding to complaints submitted by servicemembers and their families about deceptive consumer financial products and services; and coordinating the efforts of Federal and State agencies regarding consumer protection measures relating to those financial products.

This is no small task, but under the leadership of Petraeus, this department is becoming an active advocate for its constituency. Sadly, service members are targeted by shady salesmen, purveyors of predatory lending practices, unscrupulous car dealers, financial schemers and credit scammers. They are targeted for a number of reasons. Men and women in uniform get regular paychecks and are often separated from family members. Creditworthiness of service members has been deemed a matter of national security. How can someone on active duty abroad focus on the strategic decisions or critical life-threatening tasks at hand when his or her family is in financial distress? Moreover, veterans returning to civilian life deserve a fresh clean path across the economic landscape.

Petreaus is determined to do something about this situation. She testifies before Congressional committees, travels the country to speak with business leaders and advocacy groups, listens to individual members of the armed forces to hear their stories and experiences firsthand, writes a blog, and coordinates an energetic staff.

For more about her efforts, read her open letter to servicemembers here and her blog of ongoing activities of the Office of Servicemembers Affairs within the CFPB here.