Too many of our nation’s senior citizens have suffered financial abuse from strangers, caregivers, and even their own family members. As a recent article explains, federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have told banks that they can report suspected financial elder abuse to the authorities without violating privacy laws.
The announcement was intended to assist with a crackdown on financial elder abuse, which has reached epidemic proportions. The Government Accountability Office has recently reported that in 2010, financial elder abuse had cost America’s senior citizens $2.9 billion.
As director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray explains that those who work at banks and credit unions “may be able to spot irregular transactions, abnormal account activity, or unusual behavior that signals financial abuse sooner than anyone else can.” Before the announcement, however, bank and credit union employees were afraid to report suspicious activity due to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
Not only should the new guidance encourage bank and credit union tellers to report suspicious activity, but it will also make it easier for those investigating possible cases of financial elder abuse to access the suspicious accounts.