Today, the Department of Defense (“DoD” or “Department”) published in the Federal Register an interpretive rule regarding compliance with its July 2015 amendments to the regulations implementing the Military Lending Act (“MLA”). The July 2015 amendments will extend the MLA’s 36% military annual percentage rate (“MAPR”) cap, ban on mandatory arbitration, and other limitations to a wider range of credit products—including open-end credit—offered or extended to active duty service members and their dependents (“covered borrowers”). Compliance is mandatory beginning on October 3, 2016, except that credit card issuers have until October 3, 2017 to comply. Additional BuckleySandler materials on the MLA amendments are available here, here, and here.
DoD stated that the interpretive rule “does not substantively change the [July 2015] regulation implementing the MLA, but rather merely states the Department’s preexisting interpretations of an
existing regulation” and thus is effective immediately upon publication. The DoD also emphasized that the guidance provided in the rule “represent[s] official interpretations of the Department....”
The interpretive rule addresses a number of ambiguities in the amended regulations. Among other things, DoD states that in its view:
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