WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday that it has selected Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III, a former Minnesota attorney general, to lead its Office of Older Americans.

The bureau was created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul and is in charge of regulating consumer financial products. Following its establishment, the bureau was then directed to set up an office to address the needs of older Americans, defined as those 62 years and older.

The Office of Older Americans is tasked with improving the financial decision-making of seniors and preventing unfair, deceptive and abusive practices targeted at seniors.

"I am honored and excited to bring my experience in consumer protection and my work with seniors to the CFPB to help educate seniors about fair practices and how to make financial decisions that are right for them," Humphrey said in a statement. "A well informed consumer is the best protection against fraud and deceptive practices -- especially if that knowledge is backed up by tough regulatory enforcement."

Humphrey's previous experience includes serving as a Minnesota state senator for 10 years and attorney general for 16 years. He also has worked on behalf of seniors as president of the Minnesota AARP and, until recently, served on AARP's national board.

He also has served as senior vice-president at Tunheim Partners, a communications and public affairs management company, and teacher and advisor for graduate level courses at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, Law School, and the School of Public Policy.

Humphrey says seniors have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis.

Even if they planned well, they've seen their retirement savings and home equity shrink. Making it worse is the growing epidemic of elder financial abuse that puts their savings and homes at risk, he says.

The Office of Older Americans will help seniors by:

- Educating and engaging them about their financial choices in the area of long-term savings, retirement planning and long-term care;

- Reaching out to and coordinating with senior groups, law enforcement, financial institutions and other federal and state agencies to identify and prevent scams targeting seniors;

- Using information from the field along with direct input from seniors to identify trends and bad practices in a timely and effective way; and

- Protecting them from fraud and deception in financial counseling services.

"As baby boomers join the ranks of the retired, their hard-earned savings should help them realize opportunities, not serve as the target of deception and fraud," Raj Date, special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB, said in a statement.

"Skip's experience as a state attorney general and state senator, and his work with seniors in his home state of Minnesota as well as on the national front, make him a perfect fit to lead the Office of Older Americans."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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