CUs Positioned to Combat Elder Financial Abuse, CUNA Writes Senate Committee

CUNA strongly supports efforts to help protect seniors from financial exploitation and to empower seniors to make responsible financial decisions, it wrote to the Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday. CUNA sent a letter for the record of the committee’s hearing on combating elder fraud.

“Many credit unions provide a full range of financial services such as financial management, retirement planning, and credit counseling to their members,” wrote CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “The cooperative relationship between a credit union and its members often puts credit union employees in a vital position to detect suspicious financial activity related to seniors’ accounts because employees tend to know their members well and are likely to recognize when something is amiss.”

CUNA also thanked committee leadership, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA.), for their leadership in sponsoring the Senior$afe Act last Congress. The bill, which protects reporting of suspected elder financial abuse, was signed into law as part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Reform and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155).

“Senior$afe represents an important step toward improving the ability of credit unions to protect seniors from unscrupulous activity by providing limited immunity for properly trained financial employees who disclose concerns about financial exploitation of senior citizens to the appropriate authorities,” Nussle wrote. “This safe harbor, which applies only when reporting suspicions of exploitation to a class of covered agencies, such as financial regulators or law enforcement, is a vital component of the legislation and will give greater leeway to those individuals who have the most power to detect and prevent the financial abuse of those most vulnerable to it.”

Collins, who sponsored the Senior$afe Act in several Congresses, has worked with the Maine Credit Union League on a number of occasions on the topic of senior abuse.