Fines Possible on Elderly Abuse, Warns San Diego District Attorney
HENDERSON, Nev. -- Tighter regulation on reporting of financial abuse of the elderly is in the offing for banks and credit unions and that means fines, a California law enforcement executive warned a CU volunteer group here.
Addressing the annual Western States Volunteers Conference, Paul Greenwood, deputy district attorney of San Diego County and head of its Elder Abuse Prosecution Unit, said "exploitation of the elderly is becoming rampant" and banks and CUs need to do a far better job of reporting suspected cases.
"I've been dealing with a case right now involving a San Diego bank that was lax in letting one of its elderly customers count out $100 bills from a $5,000 account and pass them to a waiting crook posing as a bank manager right outside the branch," said Greenwood citing a new reporting law enacted Jan. 1 in California. He declined to name the bank.
The California law, he said, has become a model for enactment this year in other states as law enforcement seeks to bring greater scrutiny to the problem, said Greenwood, a featured workshop speaker at the Western Conference, sponsored by 15 state leagues and attended by CU directors and supervisory personnel.
"We're finding the abuse problem less at credit unions than at banks," said Greenwood. He noted that credit unions have been very cooperative with the DA's office in San Diego and banks.
A second speaker at the conference, the largest attendance yet for the meeting with nearly 250 registered, included Mark Sievewright, corporate senior vice president of Fiserv in Medfield, Mass.
In his talk, Sievewright urged CUs to become more "member-centric" in their servicing approach in the cross-sale of products, maintaining CUs have to improve member relationships.
"Credit unions cannot always win the price battle nor can they run their operations in a way that they become the lowest cost producer in their industry," he maintained.
A philosophy of "member-centricity" requires CUs to build in-depth knowledge of their members' needs "through dialogue."
Using non-financial examples in his presentation that included Nordstrom, Lands End and Starbucks, the Fiserv manager described how customer-centric organizations excel in their markets.
"It's important for us to know that members' expectations are not always set by credit unions or by other financial institutions--they are increasingly set by members' experiences with non-financial firms, especially those who excel at running their businesses in a 'customer-centric' way," he concluded. --firstname.lastname@example.org