The Senior Safe Act

Elder financial abuseThe House of Representatives passed H.R. 2255 legislation, which includes “The Senior Safe Act”.  The legislation is aimed at providing the means of bringing a halt to financial exploitation of seniors.

Both H.R. 2255, the Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act and the Senior Safe Act (formerly H.R. 3758), had been standalone bills. The Senior Safe Act is part of a larger bill that would reform regulation of credit unions, community banks, and small regional banks.

H.R. 3758 is companion legislation to S. 223, which was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. This piece of legislation encourages financial services firms to provide appropriate training to front-line employees and producers. At the same time, the bill also grants immunity to those who report suspected abuse to regulators and law enforcement authorities.

The Act’s provisions, previously introduced by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), exempt financial institutions and some of their employees from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding, when those employees report the potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a governmental agency, provided the institution has conducted training and the report is made in good faith.

Dirk Kempthorne, president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, said in a statement that the Senior Safe Act “facilitates improved communication between insurance producers, life insurance companies, and regulators in the event of suspected financial exploitation of senior citizens.”

“By encouraging the reporting of suspected fraud, the Senior Safe Act improves the ability of companies to work with regulators to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings,” said Kempthorne.

Paul Schott Stevens, president, and CEO of the Investment Company Institute said in a statement that the “vital legislation will establish a federal protection for financial institutions that act in good faith and with reasonable care to disclose the suspected exploitation of senior citizens" to a regulator or law-enforcement agency.

“While many states already shield financial institutions from liability when they disclose suspected elder financial abuse, this bill will provide such protection to all financial institutions, including all mutual fund transfer agents,” Stevens said.

Both ICI and ACLI urged the full Senate to pass the bill and send it to President Trump’s desk.

Reference: Think Advisor (January 29, 2018) “House Passes Senior Safe Act”


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