Dodd-Frank established the CFPB with four missions: (1) to enforce laws to ensure access to credit; (2) to educate consumers; (3) to protect the financial interests of service members; and (4) to protect the interests of older Americans. Operating under these overarching goals, the CFPB’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans is tasked with working to help protect and advance the interests of the approximately 55 million consumers in the United States who are at least 62 years old. Senior staff from the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans recently testified before the U.S. Senate on senior lending issues, including issues related to payday lenders. As stated in the CFPB’s materials, “[f]inancial exploitation has been called “the crime of the 21st century,” with one study suggesting that older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010.”
The CFPB remains a nascent agency, but in its first two years it has fielded 175,000 complaints from consumers, and has returned more than $430,000 to the pockets of wronged consumers. Thus, the CFPB remains an agency to watch in the future, as it possesses a robust ability to help prevent financial elder abuse.
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