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The role of banks in financial protection of seniors

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2020 | Elder Law

As people age and lose some of their cognitive abilities, they become vulnerable to financial exploitation. Financial institutions play a significant role in the protection of seniors.

Sometimes these protection exist in legislative form, and sometimes they are part of a bank’s policies and procedures.

Recommendation to stop senior exploitation

An updated report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides clear recommendations for institutions with regard to elder exploitation. The report took note that banks and credit unions have the ability to identify the targeting or victimization of account holders, many of whom could be seniors. The recommendations provide a list of voluntary best practices to protect seniors. These practices include the following:

  • Implementing internal protocols to protect senior account holders
  • Detecting exploitation through technology
  • Reporting suspected cases of exploitation to appropriate authorities
  • Collaborating with law enforcement and adult protective services

The updated report stressed the reporting of suspected cases whether current law required the disclosure or not. In general, the report found that reporting cases did not violate privacy laws.

Law to prevent exploitation

The Florida Senate website summarized a 2018 law passed to prevent the exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Among its provisions, the law allowed for the freezing of a person’s assets as well as the assets of the individual accused of the exploitation. The bill enables a court to grant a temporary injunction in cases where a vulnerable adult faces potential exploitation. One provision of the law allows a vulnerable adult the sole possession of a  dwelling shared with a person accused of exploitation. The bill also imposes penalties for the violation of a court-ordered injunction.