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Opening Statement of Hon. Gus M. Bilirakis, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Filner, I want to thank you for promptly holding this hearing to delve into allegations of violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).  Those serving in the uniform of the United States Military make tremendous sacrifices in their personal lives.  The nature of their service often does not afford them the same opportunities that civilians have in managing their day-to-day lives. 

I was distraught to learn that financial institutions were remiss in providing servicemembers with the benefits the law affords to them.  It is frustrating to learn of the unnecessary burdens that many servicemembers, such as Captain and Mrs. Rowles, have faced as they have answered the call of service to our nation. 

It is my hope that this hearing will bring light to the overall impact of alleged violations and their prevalence in the financial sector.   In addition I hope that sufficient remedies will be implemented and serve as a model to ensure that servicemember’s requesting protections under SCRA will be realized without delay.   Today’s hearing serves as an opportunity to identify shortfalls in implementation of this law and move forward in a productive manner so that we can better serve those who serve our Nation.