RALEIGH, N.C. (10/21/13)--More than 80 representatives from credit unions and community banks here attended a North Carolina Credit Union League conference on the financial exploitation of senior citizens and how to prevent it (The Weekly Conversation
The gathering, held at the Local Government FCU Conference Center in Raleigh last week, featured experts who spoke on an array of
A speaker addresses conference attendees at the North Carolina Credit Union League's conference on the financial exploitation of the elderly in Raleigh. (North Carolina Credit Union League Photo)
pertinent issues, ranging from new state and federal reporting guidelines to help identify elder financial abuse to regular schemes used to steal from vulnerable adults.
"This is certainly a timely topic," John Radebaugh, league president/CEO, said during his opening remarks. He noted that federal regulatory agencies recently issued guidelines to clarify provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that allow financial institutions to report suspected fraud and abuse of the elderly.
The first panel broke down new reporting requirements mandated by the state of North Carolina, and the best practices credit unions and community banks have implemented in response. By Dec. 1, the state's financial institutions are required to report suspected cases of fraud or abuse when the victim is a disabled adult or over the age of 65.
Attendees were also reminded of the reporting guidelines for the state's Adult Protective Services in general cases of elderly abuse and neglect, a new prosecutorial program designed specifically for financial exploitation, and common scams used to defraud the elderly.
Speakers included representatives from the Conference of District Attorneys, the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and a special agent with the State Bureau of Investigations' Financial Crimes Investigation Unit.
After the federal government published criteria for financial institutions reporting financial exploitation of senior citizens, National Credit Union Administration Chair Debbie Matz urged 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" (News Now
"Elder abuse involves the illegal or improper use of an older adult's funds, property or assets," she wrote. "Older adults can become targets of financial exploitation by family members, caregivers, financial advisors, home repair contractors, and scam artists."
She urged credit unions to review their own policies "to ensure they are consistent with state law and the interagency guidance regarding reporting requirements when a financial institution suspects elder abuse or financial exploitation."
In addition to the league's gathering, Champion CU, based in western North Carolina, hosted an elder fraud and financial exploitation conference on Oct. 10 in Canton.