Assistant Director, Office for Older Americans
Press call on GLBA Interagency Guidance
Sept. 24, 2013
I am delighted to join Director Cordray and our federal agency colleagues in announcing this important interagency guidance today.
I joined the Bureau recently to lead the Office for Older Americans, continuing a career working on consumer protection and aging issues. As secretary of aging in Pennsylvania and most recently as senior vice president for Economic Security at the National Council on Aging, I saw the disastrous impact of elder financial exploitation on our older citizens. At the Bureau, we are working hard to empower older Americans to protect themselves against financial exploitation and scams. For example, with the FDIC, we recently released an awareness program called Money Smart for Older Adults – Prevent Financial Exploitation. It includes a consumer guide as well as a training curriculum, both available on the FDIC’s website.
But we know that we can only stop financial exploitation through a coordinated effort within communities. Financial institution personnel, family members, caregivers, service providers, law enforcement, and other key people in the lives of older adults can help if they
- know the early warning signs of financial abuse
- report it to the appropriate law enforcement and adult protective services agencies, and
- provide effective responses and victim assistance.
As today’s interagency guidance demonstrates, financial services providers are key. Repeatedly we hear from financial institutions about a perceived quandary: they want to take all steps in their power to protect their older consumers when they spot a threat to their economic security, but they also need to comply with important privacy protections. We are confident that the Guidance we announce today with seven other federal agencies will send a clear signal that the Gramm Leach Bliley privacy rules generally do not bar financial institutions from making timely calls for intervention by appropriate authorities.
I want to extend my sincere thanks to the other federal financial regulators for joining us in helping older Americans. Let’s build collaboration in local communities across the country to stop elder financial exploitation.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.