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NOVATO, Calif. – A training videotape to educate credit unions and other financial institutions about elder financial abuse will make its debut here May 1. The video will then be released nationwide. “This video provides valuable training for all financial institution employees and can help us prevent the terrible losses that financial abuse creates for our consumers,” said David L. Chatfield, president and chief executive officer of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues. The 24-minute video, “Be Wise: Preventing Elder Financial Abuse,” was developed by the California Community Partnership for Prevention of Financial Abuse (CCPPFA) and a consortium of 30 financial institutions. Optional printed training materials are available with the video, including a reference booklet to give employees of financial institutions the latest information on warning signs of financial abuse and tips on how to respond. The video’s debut will mark the start of Elder Abuse Prevention Month in California and National Older American’s Month. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is among those who has endorsed the video, said elder financial abuse “often targets our most vulnerable seniors with devastating results: loss of an entire life savings, a home or both. “Elder financial abuse is wrong,” he said in an introduction to the video. “It should be reported. It must be stopped.” Lockyer said employees of financial institutions were in a unique position to help prevent elder abuse. “You may be the first to notice that a senior customer is doing something out of the ordinary, is being wrongly influenced by a stranger, a caregiver or even a trusted family member,” he said. “If you suspect elder financial abuse, follow your bank’s policy for reporting this kind of problem. “You caring and vigilance can make a difference in the lives of elder Americans,” he said. Among those scheduled to be at the screening are representatives from the California Department of Justice and the FDIC. A victim of financial abuse is scheduled to address the audience. Shirley Krohn of Spectrum Federal Credit Union in San Francisco and a CCPPFA member, said nearly 1,000 cases of financial abuse of the elderly in California in 2001 resulted in more than $2 million in losses. Authorities, however, point out that many cases go unreported. With an aging population nationwide, cases of financial abuse are expected to increase dramatically. In California, alone, the population of those 60 years and over is expected to reach 12.5 million by 2040, an increase of 232% from 1990, according to the California Department of Aging. By 2010, one in five Californians will be 60 years of age or older, it said. In addition to Lockyer, others who have endorsed the video include the California District Attorney’s Association, state Sheriff’s Association and various county boards of supervisors. “The financial institutions who have partnered in the production of this program have clearly demonstrated their steadfast leadership and commitment to the prevention of this terrible crime against elders,” said Jennifer Duane, chief executive officer of CCPPFA. The videotape is being distributed nationally by Bankers Training and Consulting Co. Also available is a management-training module and sample policies, reporting documents, legal reference material, and a listing of appropriate agencies to contact to report suspected abuse, the CCPPFA noted. The cost of the video alone is $295 or $395 (sponsored or non-sponsor) of $395 or $495 with printed training materials. -

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