CUNA strongly supports the goal of the Senior$afe Act of 2015 (H.R. 4538), and wrote to the bill’s sponsors Friday to express its support. The bill, introduced by Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), would provide legal immunity for financial services employees who disclosed concerns about elder financial abuse.
“H.R. 4538 represents an important step toward improving protection for seniors by providing legal immunity for properly trained financial services employees who disclose concerns about financial exploitation of senior citizens,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “As this legislation moves through Congress, we urge you to clarify how training should be defined, and to include a more expansive description of positions… to include a broader scope of supervisory positions in credit unions, which may be in the position to identify senior abuse.”
Services offered at many credit unions include financial management, retirement planning and credit counseling, and senior members often use these services.
“The member-owner relationship between the credit union and its members puts credit union employees in a key position to detect suspicious activity around senior accounts because oftentimes the employees know the members well,” Nussle wrote. “However, in some cases certain privacy laws make it difficult, or in some cases impossible, for employees to ring the alarm bell when exploitation is suspected.”
CUNA also supports the Senate version of the bill, S. 2216, which was introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Collins met with Maine credit unions before to hear feedback on elder financial abuse before introducing the bill.
World Elder Financial Abuse Day is June 15. The National Credit Union Foundation recently hosted a Twitter chat on how credit unions can protect the financial lives of their senior members. CUNA’s educational offerings on elderly financial abuse include a June 14 webinar and an archived webinar.