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Wife of Gen. Petraeus to be appointed consumer advocate, source says

By Jessica Yellin and Kevin Bohn, CNN
  • Holly Petraeus is the pick to head a consumer office, a source tells CNN
  • She will lead the Office for Service Member Affairs, the source says
  • She is a longtime advocate for military families

Washington (CNN) -- Holly Petraeus, the wife of the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, is getting a high profile role of her own. Thursday she will be named to a key position in the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source who would not speak for attribution because the announcement has yet to be made.

Petraeus, a longtime advocate for military families, will be named to head the Office for Service Member Affairs, tasked with protecting military families from abusive lending practices.

The office will be able to write rules prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices by banks and non-bank entities that target service members and their families. The office also will ensure that credit cards, loans and mortgages follow existing regulations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the Wall Street reform bill. Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren -- now a senior Treasury Department official -- is tasked with setting it up and, this source told CNN, she personally selected Petraeus for this role.

The financial abuse of service members was one key impetus to forming this new bureau. Consumer advocates say that while service members are deployed overseas, too often unscrupulous lenders have been luring them and their families into sham deals and abusive contracts advertising easy credit.

Critics have singled out car dealers in particular, accusing them of luring service members into loans they couldn't afford. The National Association of Auto Dealerships vigorously lobbied to be excluded from oversight by the new consumer protection bureau and largely succeeded.

Currently, Holly Petraeus is the director of the Better Business Bureau's Military Lane, which works with the Defense Department to provide consumer education for service members and their families and to advocate on their behalf. She also helps the Better Business Bureaus across the country to reach out to military communities.

Petraeus has been a military spouse for over 35 years and is a former Army civilian employee. She also has volunteered in a variety of programs to help support military families and has worked with legislatures on the national and state level on issues affecting Army families, such as those related to deployment.

Petraeus' appointment was first reported by The Huffington Post.