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Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation Takes Center Stage
Friday, May 10, 2013 8:10 AM

One of your elderly female members is wheeled into your credit union by a new caregiver. That new caregiver is directing the senior to make a large withdrawal. What spikes your attention is that it’s the kind of transaction your elderly member doesn’t normally make, and she seems somewhat confused. Yet the caregiver, impatient and curt, urges her to continue with the transaction. What would you do, as a credit union manager or employee? Sure, you don’t know definitively that there’s anything wrong with the transaction, but what if there is? And what if you do nothing about it? What if the consequences include financial devastation for your elderly member?

The National Center on Elder Abuse defines financial exploitation as “the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder.” And Texas state law requires that Adult Protective Services be contacted if “during the scope of a person’s employment, knowledge of possible abuse is occurring, even in cases where professional communications are generally held confidential.” Finally, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Agency (FinCEN) requires that a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) be filed, in the case of elder financial abuse and exploitation. Read the advisory here.

It’s clear. Credit union staff should evaluate indicators of potential financial exploitation in combination with other red flags and expected transaction activity conducted by or on behalf of the elder. But how can you know what those red flags are?

Join us in Dallas on May 21 for the REAL Solutions Partners Meeting, where elder financial abuse and exploitation (EFAE) will take center stage. This is a dues-supported event for REAL Solutions credit union members, which means it’s a “free” meeting, and it includes lunch. At this REAL Solutions Partners Meeting, you’ll get a jam-packed day of featured speakers and activities, including:

• Pablo De Filippi, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
• What You Need to Know about Elder Financial Abuse and Exploitation
• Courtney Moran and Staci Zale, Texas Credit Union Foundation
• Maggie Flowers, Economic Security at the National Council on Aging
• Retirement Fair, Best Practices, and Success Stories

The event will take place at the Texas Credit Union League, 10th Floor Boardroom, 4455 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244.

For more information or to reserve your spot, RSVP to Paula Upchurch at pupchurch@tcul.coop. If you’re not yet a member of REAL Solutions, we invite you to join us by contacting Paula.

And don’t forget, May is Elder Abuse Awareness month. To download our EFAE posters, click here. Print them out and post in your credit unions to remind your members that you’re watching out for their best interests.