July 23, 2014

Defense CU Summit: Latest on sequestration, financial training issues

July 23, 2014 – Federal defense authorization issues affecting servicemembers and their families led Tuesday's presentations at the NAFCU Defense Credit Union Summit, held in conjunction with the Annual Conference and Solutions Expo.

Norb Ryan, a retired Navy vice admiral who is now president and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America, gave an update on the defense authorization process and sequestration. He reiterated ongoing concerns about sequestration, which will draw $50 billion away from defense spending each year for 10 years.

The trouble in managing this, he said, is that the Pentagon sees personnel as the major cost issue when it's not. Personnel make up one-third of the defense budget, unchanged from 1980.

Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, focused on how defense cuts impact military families and veterans. There are fewer deployments today, and military families are racking up debt to make up for the reduced income. She said support for veterans is also a concern and urged defense credit unions to reach out to the families they know to see if they are connected to a military vet. "We need to work together," she said. "Let us be a resource to you."

CFPB's Holly Petraeus noted the bureau's education modules focused on military servicemembers.

Holly Petraeus, head of the CFPB Office of Servicemember Affairs, noted this is the bureau's third year of existence and said that, so far, it has been able to help consumers get back more than $4 billion related to consumer protection violations, which she said is "pretty extraordinary."

Petraeus said CFPB is currently working on education modules for those who counsel servicemembers before they begin basic training and has just awarded a contract for a certified financial coach. (Credit unions can get CFPB's financial education modules by sending an email to

On financial education generally, she said she didn't think some installations "use you as much as they should."

Arty Arteaga, president and CEO of the Defense Credit Union Council, followed up later in his presentation, noting that credit unions serving servicemembers "should be the one[s] out there doing financial education, not anybody else."