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B’nai B’rith International is concerned that funding cuts proposed on Capitol Hill threaten a new agency designed to protect consumers, including seniors, from scams and financial predators.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), created by the financial reform bill last year, is funded by fees the Federal Reserve receives from banks. Under the statute, much consumer protection regulatory authority over such things as home mortgages, credit cards and Truth in Lending is moving from Treasury and other federal agencies, to this new clearinghouse.
“These are especially important areas of protection for seniors because they are frequent targets for financial scams and predatory lending,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said.  

With a long commitment to senior advocacy, B’nai B’rith has created and sponsored programs for seniors on such issues as preventing identity theft and other scams. Though such community programs are invaluable, a regulatory agency of this magnitude is vitally necessary to disseminate information to consumers and to regulate and enforce rules on industries in which a few bad apples can decimate retirement security for thousands of families.

In fact, one of the Bureau’s statutory mandates is to conduct a comprehensive study on reverse mortgages, which can be immensely helpful to financing long-term services for seniors, but can be abused by predatory lenders.  

B’nai B’rith is fully aware of the need to trim budgets, but proper attention to the potential negative impact needs to be heeded. Perhaps now more than ever, in tough financial times such as these, we need an agency with a focus on protecting consumers, including seniors, from scams and financial predators.  

We urge Congress to reconsider changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has the potential to educate, regulate and enforce rules that are meant to protect people.