Removing Barriers Blog

CFPB Elder Financial Abuse Report
Posted August 25, 2016 by CUNA Advocacy

CFPB released a report titled, “Fighting Elder Financial Exploitation through Community Networks,” detailing the financial vulnerability of older Americans and ways to prevent their exploitation through the use of networks. While the report provided valuable information on what financial institutions could do to thwart elder financial abuse, it also highlighted many things credit unions already do to prevent this issue. Notable examples include credit union involvement in the iFAST network; the funding of Ohio’s CAANE program; and SECU’s collaboration with North Carolina’s HHS to implement a training program for their employees.

As the report notes, credit unions are already active in fighting elder abuse. In particular, the report discusses iFAST inetwork that has developed relationships with many credit unions, who actively attend summits for fraud detection, reporting, and prevention training and relationship-building purposes. Attendance to these summits by credit unions are said to be on the rise.

Credit union support for symposiums on elder abuse and providing printed and advertising materials for Ohio’s Collaboration Against Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (CAANE) was also noted in this report.

Finally, in 2014-15, North Carolina’s Health and Human Services department joined forces with the State Employees Credit Union to execute a “train-the-trainer” program where employees would become an educational resource on elder financial abuse for the Money Smart for Older Adults curriculum. SECU led the initiative and provided training for nearly 400 professionals in North Carolina.

Credit unions are encouraged to continue the fight against elder financial exploitation in the following ways:

  • Heavier involvement with local networks as credit unions are uniquely positioned to be early detectors of potential abuse.
  • Having a trained staff that can recognize and report cases of financial exploitation of older members
  • Creating networks in communities where they are non-existent, especially areas with an older population.