WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/13/13)--Credit unions from across the country are working to combat financial elder abuse and exploitation, said the Credit Union National Association Tuesday.
Americans over the age of 60 lost about $2.9 billion from financial abuse in 2010, up 12% from the $2.6 billion lost in 2008, according to research from insurance provider MetLife.
Credit unions are taking several steps to curb this escalating problem, including staff training to identify and report abuse, instituting new computer programs that can recognize irregular activity, and reaching out into the community to help educate vulnerable members about avoiding theft and fraud.
With the uptick in abuse, credit unions also are seeing more legislation designed to protect the vulnerable, aging population. In the past two years, 22 states have enacted elder financial abuse legislation, which often requires financial institutions, including credit unions, to report suspected abuse. Credit union leagues have worked closely with state legislatures to ensure that these new reporting laws protect seniors while also ensuring individual privacy protection.
National Credit Union Administration Chairman Debbie Matz in a letter issued in September to credit unions (Letter 13-CU-08), strongly encouraged credit unions to ensure that their staff members are "trained on the potential signs that might trigger a report of elder abuse or financial exploitation."
Here are examples of credit unions are fighting back against elder abuse: