New Survey Highlights Banks’ Efforts to Protect Older Americans

With Americans over age 50 accounting for 70 percent of all bank deposits, and with an estimated one in five seniors targeted by financial fraud, the American Bankers Association Foundation today released its inaugural Older Americans Benchmarking Report highlighting how banks are working to combat elder abuse.

A majority of banks — 71 percent — said they required additional, specialized training for frontline staff to help spot elder financial abuse, while 64 percent reported using automated tools to help better monitor their older customers’ account activity. Six in ten said they offer products with favorable terms for older customers.

Banks also reported working closely with financial caregivers to detect and prevent elder abuse. In cases where fraud is suspected, 77 percent said they call to notify the financial caregiver, while 55 percent schedule an in-person meeting. When elder fraud is suspected, banks respond by flagging the account for further monitoring (82 percent), reporting the incident to law enforcement (68 percent), and reporting it to adult protective services (62 percent), the survey found.

The survey also noted that banks also educate seniors and their caregivers about financial fraud — 47 percent of banks surveyed said they host educational events on topics such as avoiding scams, identity theft and choosing a trusted financial caregiver. To help bankers in these efforts, ABA in 2015 launched Safe Banking for Seniors, which provides resources to help bankers engage and educate their older customers.