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  • Archive for March, 2012

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—What’s That?

    Friday, March 23rd, 2012

    If you have not yet heard about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), you could be missing out on great new resources to help you protect and grow your financial assets. Here are some important things to know about the Bureau:

    Last July, the CFPB began operations to empower consumers with knowledge and keep an eye on the possible misconduct of financial institutions. An important arm of the CFPB is the Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans. This Office focuses on providing financial education to seniors. It is headed by former Minnesota Attorney General Hubert “Skip” Humphrey III, who has already demonstrated a strong commitment to helping older women as part of the Office’s mission.  The goal is to prevent elder financial abuse by bringing together federal and state agencies, law enforcement, aging networks and elders to strategize policies and disseminate information via the CFPB website, public forums, webinars and other media. The National Education and Resource Center on Women and Retirement Planning, operated by WISER and funded through the Administration on Aging, is proud to partner with the CFPB on these important issues that greatly impact older women.

    The CFPB offers a variety of helpful resources.  Most recently, the Bureau launched a new portion on its website aimed at answering consumers’ most common questions. The Ask CFPB initiative answers more than 350 of the most frequently asked questions submitted to the Bureau by consumers. This is just the newest step taken by the Bureau to help consumers navigate the bumpy and often confusing road of finance.

    The CFPB’s most pressing concerns are mortgages, credit cards, and student loans. The Bureau, whose jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, mortgage-servicing operations, foreclosure relief services, debt collectors and other financial companies, was designed to consolidate the regulatory process and make it easier for the public to get information and file complaints. Since July, the Bureau has worked to create a website – www.ConsumerFinance.gov – that makes it easy for consumers to submit complaints about a wide range of financial products and services. The Bureau has launched a supervision program that oversees actions taken by financial institutions that include banks, payday lenders, mortgage companies, private student lenders, and others. The Bureau is also working to create tools to help consumers make better financial decisions (it has already developed a Student Debt Repayment Assistant).

    To take advantage of the resources offered to you by the CFPB and its Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, visit their website at ConsumerFinance.gov. To file a complaint, consumers can call (855) 411-CFPB (2372) or file online. The CFPB hopes to use data from its call centers to track the latest predatory scams against older adults and develop solutions for financial protection and scam prevention. You can also learn more about protecting yourself and your loved ones from financial scams and frauds by visiting the Financial Elder Abuse Resources on WISER’s website.

    WISER

    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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