JIM HENRY

Expect fireworks over military loans

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

The Fourth of July is over, but the fireworks might not be ended for the summer.

On Aug. 2-3, the Federal Trade Commission will hold the second in a series of open meetings to explore "motor vehicle sales and financing issues pertaining to military consumers, fair lending, and financial literacy."

That's an explosive topic. Last year an undersecretary of defense asserted that unscrupulous auto lending to military members was such a big problem that it affected America's combat readiness. Those were fighting words for dealers and auto lenders from the National Automobile Dealers Association and the American Financial Services Association, who don't want to be lumped together with "predatory" lenders.

Meanwhile, looking out for military members is one of the few well-defined tasks on the agenda for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau is scheduled to start up July 21, before the next FTC meeting. The meeting will be held in San Antonio -- right down the road from the Alamo.

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