New CFPB Office of Older Americans Director Looks to Protect Seniors’ Homes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today announced that Hubert “Skip” Humphrey will lead its new Office of Older Americans. Humphrey has served on AARP’s national board and has also worked on behalf of seniors as president of the Minnesota AARP and as a former Attorney General.

“We will remind seniors about protecting their homes,” Humphrey said in a press call Wednesday. He noted that seniors’ home equity totals more than $3 trillion by some estimates, and that the bureau will work to make sure that seniors do not sign up for products or services that are not appropriate for them or that they do not fully understand.

Additionally, Humphrey said that the office will work with other regulators to make sure seniors are not misled by advisors who say they are specialized in working with seniors.

With regard to a study that the CFPB will conduct on reverse mortgages over the next year mandated under Dodd-Frank, he said the research itself will be important.

“The key goal is that as research takes place, those who are conducting research are senstiive to the needs of older americans,” he said.

The office also noted that many of the 50 million Americans in the 62+ age bracket are ill-prepared for retirement years, and stressed the work the CFPB will do to help that population. Among its efforts, the agency will gather research and information about trends and bad practices to help policymakers and the financial services industry address seniors’ needs, and will protect against false and deceptive designations of financial counselors to make sure seniors have access to qualified financial advice, Humphrey wrote in a statement.

“As baby boomers join the ranks of the retired, their hard-earned savings should help them realize opportunities, not serve as the target of deception and fraud,” said Raj Date, special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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