One of the truly saddest by-products of modern society is the prevalence of elder abuse.  Such abuse can be physical, emotional, and even financial.  Too often children, relatives, and even neighbors take unfair financial advantage of the elderly. And, the elderly are too often an easy mark for such abuse.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) urges financial institutions—including banks, credit unions, finance companies, and other creditors—to report any suspected elder financial exploitation to the appropriate local, state, or federal authorities.  The CFPB points out that financial institutions are uniquely positioned to detect that an older customer may have been targeted or victimized.  

The CFPB published an Advisory paper on this topic in 2016 and updated it this year.  The Advisory sets out six categories of voluntary best practices to help financial institutions prevent elder financial abuse and intervene effectively when it occurs. See the Advisory here.

In reviewing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from banks and credit unions, the CFPB has determined that elder financial exploitation is on the rise. Banks and Credit Unions actually report on suspicious elder financial exploitation in connection with their SARs.

While consumer finance companies and credit sellers do not file SARs, it is nevertheless incumbent on all financial institutions to be on the look-out for elder financial exploitation.  It is undoubtedly the right thing to do as well as a good business practice.

Practice Pointer: Make known to your CSRs that elder financial exploitation is a problem; and, one that they may be able to help prevent.  Use the CFPB Advisory paper as a training tool.

Please Note: This is the sixty-ninth blog in a series of Back to Basics blogs, in which relevant and resourceful information can be easily accessed by clicking here.