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Minn. league provides elder fin. abuse training
ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/28/14)--Attuned to the devastating consequences of elder financial abuse, last week the Minnesota Credit Union Network hosted more than 50 credit union representatives at a forum focused on providing front-line staff the tools needed to identify and report instances of fraud.

Former Minnesota Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III addresses the participants of the Minnesota Credit Union Network's forum on financial elder abuse, calling credit unions a friend he's comfortable dealing with. (Minnesota Credit Union Network Photo)
Front-line credit union staff are often the first to encounter, and thus the first able to spot, instances of elder abuse, according to the league.

"Prevention is key for credit unions, due to the relationships you have (with your members)," said former state Attorney General Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III during the event. "I personally feel more comfortable dealing with a credit union. You're a friend. You have that knowledge of what (your members) do, and that gives you the opportunity to spot unusual behavior and provide protection."

In April, Minnesota became the first state in the United States to to issue guidance to state-chartered credit unions and banks urging diligence protecting senior citizens and reporting irregularities to local law enforcement agencies.

The forum included a panel discussion among elder financial abuse experts that covered how to communicate with those being defrauded, how to report abuse and what happens when an abuse report has been filed.

Credit union staff in attendance, many of whom are trainers at their organizations who teach employees how to identify and report possible fraud, learned additional prevention tips from the following experts:
  • Shane Deal, deputy commissioner of financial institutions for the Department of Commerce. Deal is responsible for state regulatory oversight of state-chartered financial institutions;
     
  • Jay Haapala, associated state director of AARP Minnesota and a leader of the state's Fraud Watch Network, which educates consumers about scams and fraud;
     
  • Sean Burke, steering committee member of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center at William Mitchell College of Law, an organization dedicated to tackling elder and adult financial exploitation; and
     
  • Mary McGurran, agency policy specialist for the Department of Human Services' Adult Protective Services unit and a licensed social worker specializing in working with vulnerable adults, their family members and caregivers.
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