Member Benefits: Fighting elder financial exploitation

Elder financial abuse costs seniors billions of dollars a year. But there are tools to fight it. Photo courtesy of CRA Partners/SHCPF

Billions of dollars are lost to elder financial exploitation each year. Equip your team with the skills needed to protect your customers.


From 2019 to 2020 alone, the amount of money involved in elder financial abuse rose by nearly a billion dollars—the largest year-over-year increase since 2013. But that most likely doesn’t account for all the money lost in that time.

Quick Stats

14.5%

of the U.S. population is 65 years or older.

Source: Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation

***

62K

reports of suspected elder financial exploitation were filed in 2020.

Source: CFPB

***

$3.4B

The amount of money involved in suspected elder financial exploitation.

Source: CFPB

***

56%

of suspected elder financial exploitation involves deposit accounts.

Source: CFPB

“Most times, elder financial abuse goes unreported or underreported, either because the seniors are overwhelmed or are somewhat embarrassed,” says David Lenoir, president and CEO of CRA Partners’ Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF), an ICBA subsidiary. “So while the numbers are staggering, at the same time, we think it’s just a small fragment of what is actually going on related to elder financial abuse.”

Community banks can help prevent, identify and report financial elder abuse.

A number of ICBA solutions provide community bankers with the tools they need to assist customers who may be experiencing financial exploitation.

ICBA Community Banker University courses

The online training course Elder Financial Abuse is available through all Community Banker University training plans but can also be purchased separately. By the end of the course, participants should have a better understanding of:

  • How to define, recognize and identify financial elder abuse
  • The potential perpetrators and causes behind elder financial abuse
  • How to respond to elder financial abuse
  • What can be done to prevent it in the future

CRA Partners

Powered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, CRA Partners’ multipronged compliance program provides resources for community bankers that benefits them and their communities.

The first prong provides education not only to bankers but to senior citizens and their families as well.

“We have other components around that, just in terms of protecting the seniors who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities,” Lenoir says. “We launched recently some printed material—we call it Cyber-Savvy Seniors—where a bank can co-brand our literature with its logo, and also a senior facility can co-brand with its logo.”

While some of the advice may seem like common sense to those of younger generations, Lenoir says, it’s important to help senior citizens recognize the need for education on tactics like complex passwords and multifactor authentication.

To assist in this, some of the resources provided by the program include educational materials for bankers and community members on financial elder abuse; a press kit, attendee handouts and bank training handouts; and an online community seminar.

In addition, community bankers who use the program can choose a senior facility, like a nursing home or HUD housing facility, to provide the online community seminar to. By participating in the program, bankers are eligible for CRA credit.

AARP BankSafe Training Platform

This online training platform was created in collaboration with more than 2,000 industry professionals in an effort to combat elder financial exploitation. Through videos, learning modules, games, quizzes and more, participants can learn about financial exploitation at their own pace.

The program aims to help bankers improve their knowledge of:

  • The impact of financial exploitation on your customers and community bank
  • What actions to take to identify and prevent financial exploitation
  • State-specific reporting requirements

According to the National Adult Protection Services Association, only one in 44 elder financial abuse cases gets reported, making it even more important for community bankers to learn to recognize red flags and address them properly for the benefit of the bank itself and its customers.

—Tiffany Lukk


More information for members

ICBA offers resources for both community bankers and their customers on how to respond to suspected elder financial abuse.
Get more information »