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What Has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Done to Help Older Americans?
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What Has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Done to Help Older Americans?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The CFPB includes the Office for Older Americans, which has a mandate to help protect the financial interests of consumers aged 62 and up. The CFPB created the office and appointed directors in October 2011.

We thought we’d take a look to see what the CFPB, et al., have done since then to help older Americans improve their financial health. Taking a look at the CFPB Office of Older Americans’ website, we can see they have:

  • Set up a blog
  • Hosted twitter chats
  • Developed a brochure about the Office for Older Americans
  • Published statistics

Surely there was more going on behind the scenes, and according to the assistant director of the Office of Older Americans, there has been. In an April 2013 blog post, assistant director Skip Humphrey said they had been very busy during his tenure and had accomplished the following:

  • “Helped the Bureau [CFPB] produce and publish a congressionally mandated study and report on reverse mortgages. To help people assess their own needs when making decisions about reverse mortgages, we produced an accompanying consumer guide.
  • “Established working relationships with nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, state attorneys general, and our federal partners on the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, including HHS, the SEC, the FTC, and DOJ.”

In addition, over the next few months, Humphrey expected the CFPB Office of Older Americans to release the results of some long-term efforts:

  • “A plain language guide for lay fiduciaries who are managing an elder’s finances, and another for the staff of congregate living facilities to spot elder abuse, both of which will be released this summer. These guides will help lay people with fiduciary duties understand what’s required of them, and help nursing home and other congregate care staff spot and help to prevent elder abuse;
  • “A Money Smart for Older Adults module – expected out before summer – that we developed with the FDIC as part of the FDIC’s highly successful Money Smart curriculum. This module will provide training on how seniors can protect themselves against financial exploitation and scams;[1]
  • “Recommendations and a report to Congress and the SEC regarding the use of senior certifications and designations by financial advisors to help ensure that seniors understand what these credentials mean when they’re seeking financial advice.”

Make of it what you will, but we will not be surprised if, at a minimum, the report referenced in the last bullet point includes recommendations for Congress and the SEC to implement stricter regulations for the use of senior certifications and designations by financial advisors.

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[1] Since Humphrey’s April post, the FDIC and CFPB announced the release of the Money Smart for Older Adults curriculum on June 12, 2013. According to the press release, “Money Smart for Older Adults is designed to be delivered to older adults and their caregivers by representative of financial institutions, adult protective service agencies, senior advocacy organizations, law enforcement, and others that serve this population.”


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