May 21, 2012 – The House on Friday added expanded mortgage protections for military servicemembers to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act before clearing the defense package on a vote of 299-120.
Before that vote, the House voted 394-27 to add the provisions of H.R. 5747, introduced by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., to the authorization bill. H.R. 5747 would expand mortgage protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to include debt incurred during service. Cummings’ amendment also includes provisions from H.R. 1263, cleared by the House last year, to:
- extend some SCRA protections to surviving spouses;
- extend post-service mortgage protections from nine months to 12 months;
- require all financial institutions to designate an SCRA compliance officer;
- require financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets to maintain a toll-free phone number; and
- extend some SCRA protections to all totally disabled veterans leaving the military.
Also contained in the defense bill is a provision added in subcommittee by Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Susan Davis, D-Calif. The measure would allow servicemembers who are forced to relocate as a result of military service to refinance their mortgages at owner-occupied rates.
The House Rules Committee on Thursday decided what amendments could and could not be considered in connection with the defense package. One measure that didn’t make the cut was an amendment from Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., to establish a Defense Department pilot program to develop financial products that on-base financial institutions must offer servicemembers. These would include products to encourage saving and short-term, payday-like products.
The defense authorization bill is headed to the Senate, which is expected to take up its own version of the legislation. Once that passes, the two bills would be reconciled in a House-Senate conference committee.
NAFCU continues to monitor progress of this legislation. Expert analysis will be provided during NAFCU’s Defense Credit Union Summit
, scheduled July 24 in conjunction with NAFCU’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Nashville, Tenn.