Liberals like Rep. Barney Frank have long sought strict financial reform,
especially the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency,
but have so far failed to win sufficient support from moderates. Enter
the military. Though historically conservative, the Department of
Defense has come out on behalf of the CFPA and financial regulation.
Defense Undersecretary Clifford Stanley wrote in a letter to the
Treasury Department, "We believe the intervention of the [Consumer
Financial Protection Agency] in overseeing auto financing and sales for
service members will help protect them and will assist us in reducing
the concerns they have over their financial well-being."
The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz explains that the military is worried about predatory financial practices that have plagued its members. He says DoD support could go a long way:
The military is obviously one of the most highly regarded institutions in American life, and when it weighs in on behalf of service members, people tend to listen. If the Department of Defense believes that the Consumer Financial Protection Agency should cover auto lenders, among other non-bank lenders that some reform opponents want to exempt regulation, that could go a long way towards convincing reluctant senators to support robust consumer protection.