The Federal Reserve’s first Consumer Compliance Outlook newsletter of 2017 was released recently, and emphasized the need for financial institutions to take a role in combating elder financial abuse. According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the estimated annual losses from elder financial abuse currently range from $2.9 billion to $36.48 billion.
Research indicates the typical victim of elder abuse is “between the ages of 70 and 89, white, female, frail and cognitively impaired.” Most often the perpetrators of elder financial abuse are family members (68%), friend and neighbors (17%) and home healthcare aides (15%).
The Fed recommends certain “age friendly” financial services that can help combat this growing crime. Survey research indicates older adults want:
In addition, many elderly consumers do not use online banking out of safety concerns, do not own a computer of smartphone, and may have disabilities that make operating a computer or smartphone difficult. This leads to more than half of consumers over 65 to use branches and tellers to access accounts.
The Fed emphasizes that staff training, especially teller training, is critical in the effort to combat elder financial abuse because front line staff are in the best position to observe suspicious conduct.
The Fed also encourages credit unions to enhance their policies, procedures and training to ensure staff can identify and report suspected elder financial abuse.
CUNA is hosting a webinar specifically designed to help front line staff spot and stop elder financial abuse. No preregistration is required for the webinar, whici will be available to view Aug. 1.
Additional details, and a link to the latest Consumer Compliance Outlook, can be found in a recent CUNA CompBlog entry.