Catholic United Financial Fights Senior Abuse
As the number of financial crimes committed against senior citizens rise, Catholic United Financial Credit Union is encouraging other credit unions and banks to spot suspicious activities.
Terri Maloney (pictured at left), president/CEO of the $18 million credit union in St. Paul, Minn., was one of several representatives at a press conference held Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Others in attendance were officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, AARP Minnesota and the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Minnesota Credit Union Network.
Maloney encouraged additional education for frontline employees at banks and credit unions and specifically training staff to spot spotting fraudulent activity and empowering them to help stop it.
“Working in the financial industry, we know that financial crimes aimed at seniors happen all too often,” Maloney said. “Strengthening our relationship with law enforcement and the Minnesota Department of Commerce will help keep our customers’ money out of the hands of criminals.”
In a Sept. 23, 2013 letter to credit unions, NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz reminded federally insured credit unions they can alert authorities if they suspect an older member is the victim of financial abuse or exploitation without violating the member’s privacy.
“Research suggests financial exploitation is the most common form of elderly abuse,” Matz said at the time. “Older adults can become targets of financial exploitation by scam artists, shady contractors, dishonest financial advisors or even trusted friends or family members.”
The NCUA said it first addressed the issue of elder abuse and privacy laws in 2007, when the agency made clear that federal law, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, did not preempt provisions of Hawaii’s state law requiring financial institutions to report suspected abuse.
Last September, NCUA said it joined with several other federal financial regulators to issue guidance to help financial institutions report suspected financial abuse or exploitation of seniors, which includes warning signs of possible abuse evidenced by the behavior of an older member or others who may be perpetrators.