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My next chapter: focusing on the work we do with others


In the brief time since I started here at the CFPB, we have accomplished an amazing amount for older Americans. The time has flown by at jet speed. Among other things, we’ve:

Increased the focus on issues affecting seniors, including in particular elder financial exploitation and diminished capacity for financial decision-making.

  • Helped the Bureau 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.

But there is a lot still to come. Over the next few months we’ll also 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;
  • 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.

During the many years I have enjoyed working in public service and furthering the public interest – from my time as a Minnesota state legislator forty years ago to the work I do now at the CFPB – I have gotten to know many people and organizations throughout America: companies that provide financial services, public and private organizations, and law enforcement. I’ve seen these relationships and experiences help the elders of our nation be more economically secure and independent.

Our work for America’s seniors will only succeed if the relationships we’ve begun succeed. They deserve particular focus. After an incredible term as the Assistant Director for Older Americans, I am transitioning to a new position: Senior Liaison Officer. My work will focus more closely on collaborating and working with organizations that work with consumers throughout the country. I will continue to travel the country to meet with consumers, policy makers, advocates, and both public and private agencies to talk about how we address the myriad problems facing older consumers today.

I’m looking forward to focusing on building strong, dynamic relationships to share research, develop projects and programs, and create tools that will support sound financial decision-making by seniors as they enjoy their later years. Our work will help to protect more seniors from the scams and financial abuse that steal their retirement and later life savings.

This is going to mean a little less time in Washington and a little more time in Minnesota where all of my family lives. Just as so many seniors desire, I will be better able to share in the growth and maturing of the Humphrey family while continuing my commitment to the good people of this nation as I continue my work with the CFPB. I’ll also be working closely with my Deputy, Stacy Canan, to help the Bureau find the next Assistant Director for Older Americans (if you want to receive updates on our process, please let us know).

So, stay tuned! I’ll be sending updates from time to time from places all across the USA!

  • Anonymous

    Mortgage insurance on a paid off home as a criteria for all reverse mortgages is RIDICULOUS. How about offering no mortgage insurance for elderly homeowners who simply want to take a modest draw every month as compared to the value of the home? It is possible that if an elderly person were to do a 10-15 year on their home via reverse mortgage, that one third would go to mortgage insurance, one third to the interest being charged, and one third to the senior, that is contemptible in my book.

    • Anonymous

      There are people in their fifties and older who have paid off their home, but because they are jobless at the moment cannot tap into any home equity, even if they agreed to only take out a small portion every month, and instead are forced to sell their home and incur huge moving expenses, simply because they chose to pay off their home rather than demurr and put a significant amount in savings.

      What was the point?

      We read accusations about wasteful irresponsible people, what about people who scrimped, never missed a mortgage payment, and chose to pay off their home sooner rather than later, but because they lose their job, have no way to tap into that equity. Were they too behaving irresponsibly?

      • DebtNEUTRALITY

        What about adult children who are willing to take care of their parents as the parents age. In many instances an adult child living at their parents home so they can take care of the parent or parents can do so much more economically than anything the government can provide, yet these adults are given virtually no incentive to do so.

        State and federal governments appear as if they would rather keep a child separated from their parent, and the parent in a nursing home, even if the cost is 7,500 dollars a month to keep them apart, versus allowing them to live together for only 2,500 dollars a month. Isn’t that elder abuse by the government?

        Isn’t it elder abuse by the government to siphon 2/3’s of a senior’s home equity towards mortgage insurance and interest rate charges just to tap the final 1/3 of equity after the elderly spent their lifetime being responsible and paying off their home?

  • Lokaty Bankowe

    Skip Humphrey thank you for your contribution to help older people.

  • Rosie

    I played drums at the country fair that Skip attended many years ago and I promised to accompany his music group if needed! The offer still stands! Or if Skip is in Cannon Falls – our local TRIAD – citizens and law enforcement partnership would invite him to speak and join us for lunch!

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