Lending Company Forced to Provide Debt Relief to Military Families

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Fort Carson officials are weighing in on an investigation involving a lending company.

The company operated across the country and here in Colorado. It went by several names including Rome Finance, Colfax Capital and Culver Capital.

According to the Colorado attorney general's office, the company set up near military bases and offered instant financing with no money down.

However, investigators say the company did not accurately disclose charges and interest rates.

The lending company must now provide $92 million in debt relief to 17,000 service members across the country, including 740 in Colorado.

11 News reached out to Fort Carson about the investigation. The following is the statement that Fort Carson officials released:

"High interest rate lenders target Soldiers who are financially inexperienced and have poor credit or no credit. These lenders lure Soldiers into signing contracts by promising to help build their credit. ACS teaches Soldiers that these promises are, for the large part, empty, as being unable to pay on a high-interest contract will actually be detrimental to their credit score. Also, ACS highlights the importance of price comparing, as these lenders frequently add on charges that result in items being two or three times more expensive if purchased elsewhere. ACS Financial Readiness counselors and command financial counselors (non-commissioned officers assigned to units at the battalion level) offer to review any contract a
Soldier is interested in before they sign and the contract becomes a legal document.

Army Community Service Financial Readiness Counselors are available to educate and provide tools to Soldiers and Family Members in managing their money and becoming debt free. If a Soldier visits with a Financial Readiness counselor, having already signed a high-interest contract, the counselor will help the Soldier examine his or her finances and look for ways to cut expenses and increase income. Methods include ensuring Soldiers have checked
the right number of tax exemptions, helping Soldiers build a budget and, if they're married to a non-working spouse, exploring options for the spouse to bring income into the household. Financial Readiness Counselors will assist Soldiers in how to prioritize paying off their high-interest debt and provide strategies on how to become debt free. Also, Financial Readiness
Counselors are well-versed in the Fair Debt Collection Act, which governs when and who debt collectors can call and help educate Soldiers about their rights in that regard.

All Soldiers who arrive on Fort Carson attend "day one/first term training" as a part of in-processing that includes information about high interest rate lenders. Army Community Services also offers several voluntary financial classes daily and weekly that are geared toward educating Soldiers on personal finances. Soldiers can also go to the on-post legal office for contract review and assistance in getting out of contracts."

If you think you have been defrauded by a Colorado business or nonprofit, you can report it to the Colorado attorney general's office by calling 1-800-222-4444.

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