CFPB Official: Elder Financial Abuse 'Crime of the 21st Century'
November 16, 2011
Elder financial abuse and exploitation is a significant and growing financial
problem facing the America's senior citizens, a prominent official from the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau told a Senate panel on Nov. 15. Hubert
"Skip" Humphrey III, director of the bureau's Office for Older Americans, said
the agency intends to partner with law enforcement and senior advocates to build
awareness of elder abuse; address the underreporting of fraudulent or abusive
practices aimed at this demographic; and coordinate more training on the matter
for law enforcement and financial institutions. "It's been called a hidden
epidemic or the Crime of the 21st Century, and it's a growing and serious
problem that we need to address," Humphrey said. AARP Foundation Litigation
senior attorney Julie Nepveu said more older Americans are reporting problems
involving payday loans, debt collection, overdraft fees, and mortgage
modifications. The CFPB's reach is limited, however, until permanent leadership
is in place. "Too many seniors are struggling to meet the unfair terms of
unscrupulous lenders looking to take advantage of their vulnerable state,"
explained Sen. Sherrod Brown, who chairs the Subcommittee on Financial
Institutions and Consumer Protection. "Unfortunately, many of these activities
are perpetrated by non-banks, and the CFPB does not have authority over these
lenders until a full-time director is confirmed."
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