The NCUA and other federal agencies have teamed up to inform financial institutions that reporting suspected financial abuse of elder Americans does not generally violate privacy law.
“Specific privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and its implementing regulations permit the sharing of this type of information under appropriate circumstances without complying with notice and opt-out requirements,” said the “Interagency Guidance on Privacy Laws and Reporting Financial Abuse of Older Adults” issued Tuesday.
Three parts of the act allow financial institutions to report elder abuse to third parties, according to the guidance, which is posted online.
“A financial institution may disclose non-public personal information to comply with federal, state or local laws, rules and other applicable legal requirements, such as state laws that require reporting by financial institutions of suspected abuse,” the act says.
Personal information can also be released to respond to an authorized investigation or to respond to a judicial process. A credit union, for example, can also release such information to “protect against or prevent actual or potential fraud, unauthorized transactions, claims or other liability.”
Joining the NCUA in issuing the guidance were the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Federal Trade Commission, Office of Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Many older consumers are known personally by the tellers in their local banks and credit unions. These employees may be able to spot irregular transactions, abnormal account activity, or unusual behavior that signals financial abuse sooner than anyone else can,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.
“Today’s guidance makes clear that reporting suspected elder financial abuse generally is not subject to these same concerns and does not violate the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” Cordray said.
The guidance mentions repeated large withdrawals, debit transactions uncommon for an older adult, random attempts to wire large amounts and the closing of CDs or accounts despite penalties as possible signs of elder financial abuse.
NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz said her agency is issuing a letter to credit unions to “reiterate” their interpretation of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
“We will be encouraging credit unions to review their policies and procedures to ensure they are consistent with state law and the interagency guidance regarding reporting requirements when they suspect elder abuse or financial exploitation,” Matz said.