SCRA – Who is a Servicemember?
If asked “Who is a Servicemember?” most compliance professionals might go the citation (50 USC 3911(1)) and read the definition of a Servicemember. Alternately, a compliance professional might say “We just query the Department of Defense (DoD) database to find out if someone’s a Servicemember. While this is excellent, it might not be enough.
SCRA is one of those compliance areas where individual states have their own expanded definition of who a Servicemember is. Most of the states purposely include in the definition of a Servicemember a person who is serving in the state’s own Guard Unit. An internet search will reveal organizations that track this information and can provide you with a list of states that expand the definition of a Servicemember.
If compliance professionals only search the DoD database to determine whether their borrower is a Servicemember or not, they will likely miss individuals who meet the state definition of a Servicemember. Moreover, vendor software and vendor lookup engines (such as lending software that embeds a Servicemember lookup engine) will likely overlook individuals who meet the state definition of a Servicemember if that software or lookup engine is only querying the DoD database.
How to Proceed
Compliance professionals who are querying the DoD database need to find another way to determine if someone meets their state definition of a Servicemember. For those using vendor software or vendor lookup engines, have a conversation with the vendor to document whether they are or are not also including the state definition of a Servicemember.