| October 27, 2020


Write a four paragraph mini-memo to a financial institution’s management team or compliance office. Sharing practices financial institutions can adopt to help protect their elderly customers from financial abuse.



To:       Financial Institution Management Team

From:   Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

Date:   11th November, 2018

Re:      Practices to Help Protect Elderly Customers from Financial Abuse

Dear management,

Financial abuse of the elderly is so rampant and has become a serious problem in the USA as it results in $2.9 – $36.48 billion in annual losses.[1] These abuses take various forms including cashing the senior’s checks without their permission or knowledge; improper use of the power of attorney, guardianship or conservatorship; stealing or misusing their money; forging their signatures; and deceiving an elder into signing a given document among others.[2]  


Financial abuse may be devastating and by 2030, it is expected that the Americans aged 65 and above will hit 71 million (around 20% of the population),[4] and exceed the 20% mark by 2050.[3] Therefore, there is the need to urgently act to save the older people from scammers and fraudsters. Notably, the financial institutions are crucial bodies in preventing and responding to abuse cases because they have a direct interaction with customers, access their accounts’ information and transactions, and have tools necessary in detecting potential fraud. As noted by the,[5] financial institutions can adopt the following practices to save the elderly from financial abuse:

Maintaining the elder’s information private:  In line with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, banks should not share private information with unauthorized third parties- who could be fraudsters or scammers- without the client’s consent.

Financial education programs: Coordinated efforts to teach seniors about scams will help create awareness of the possible schemes that fraudsters may use and how to identify them.

Technological infrastructure: To help in flagging and identifying cases of possible abuse. The technology should also offer an age-friendly digital banking experience and safety to the seniors.

Training: The staffs, especially tellers are the people who directly interact with the seniors and should, therefore, be well-trained on measures to identify and combat suspected elder financial abuse.

Reporting: After the identification of suspected and unusual banking patterns such as frequent large withdrawals, the financial institutions should report to the relevant authorities with strict adherence to the law.



[3] Id

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[5] Id

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