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CFPB's Cordray Addresses Financial Exploitation of Older Americans
Tuesday, July 14, 2015 6:45 AM

Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray made remarks to the White House Conference on Aging, saying his agency is working hard to make financial markets work better on behalf of 320 million American consumers and, in particular, protecting older Americans against financial exploitation and promoting economic security later in life.

The remarks are timely, considering this year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of the Social Security Act. Cordray said the CFPB's Office for Older Americans has done much great work around elder justice. His team has issued studies, guides, and advisories to arm seniors and their caregivers with the information and tools they need to protect themselves and their precious retirement savings.

Unfortunately, Cordray said, they have seen that older Americans all too often fall prey to financial exploitation, becoming attractive targets because of their higher household wealth in the form of retirement savings or home equity or both. They may develop impaired capacity and they can be isolated and vulnerable to exploitation.

Recent studies found that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse, but only a small fraction of incidents is ever reported. So the CFPB is calling on financial institutions to do their part to help protect older Americans. The Consumer Bureau will release an advisory later this year to help financial institutions prevent, recognize, and report elder financial abuse. Financial institutions are especially well-positioned to prevent such fraud.