Maine Securities Regulator Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee on Aging; Touts Success of Maine Program to Combat Senior Financial Exploitation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

As the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) reports, on February 4, 2015 Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw testified before the U.S. Special Committee on Aging. Shaw emphasized the difficulty in addressing senior financial exploitation, noting that many elderly individuals are vulnerable, socially isolated and distant from family and other supportive networks. According to Shaw, financial exploitation is one of the most serious issues facing seniors.

Of note, Shaw discussed the approach Maine is taking to address this growing issue. In particular, Shaw noted the success of Maine’s “Senior$afe” program (a partnership between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Aging and Disability Services, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, the Maine Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, Maine’s Legal Services for the Elderly, and Maine’s five Area Agencies on Aging). The “Senior$afe” program is a training and outreach effort intended to increase identification and reporting of elder financial exploitation by financial institutions. It provides training for tellers, other front-line staff and managers on the red flags of elder abuse and financial exploitation.

According to Shaw, over 200 bank and credit union employees in Maine have received Senior$afe training. The program has been so successful that Senior$afe program materials have been shared with NASAA for revision and co-branding so that it can be made available to NASAA members in the United States, Canada and Mexico. According to one source, Shaw “strongly believe[s]” the program could be a model for other states.

According to U.S. Senator Susan Collins, “Maine is on the cutting edge of helping to combat financial abuse of seniors though programs like the innovative Senior$afe program, which is the first of its kind in the nation.”

Shaw’s testimony can be viewed by video by clicking here.

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