Regulators Tell Banks That Reporting Elder Abuse Doesn't Violate Privacy Laws

September 24, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer 
consumer financial protection bureau news
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with half a dozen other federal regulators, issued guidelines on Sept. 24 reaffirming that reporting suspected financial abuse is not a breach of privacy laws. The move was aimed at combating elder financial abuse -- which siphoned nearly $3 billion from seniors' accounts in 2010, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Bank and credit union tellers are a first line of defense against the problem, according to CFPB director Richard Cordray, who said they "may be able to spot irregular transactions, abnormal account activity, or unusual behavior that signals financial abuse sooner than anyone else can." Concerns about violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, however, have kept banks and money managers from alerting law enforcement authorities; but the new guidance is meant to reassure them that they are within the boundaries of the law. It also is expected to make it easier for investigating agencies to gain access to bank records.

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