In re-introducing Senior$afe legislation, Senator Collins cites a Maine CU's work in preventing elder financial abuse

February 17, 2017

Recently, Senator Collins re-introduced the Senior$afe Act of 2017 (S.223), and the Senator highlighted the work of Maine's credit unions in keeping seniors' finances safe. While introducing the bill, Senator Collins gave an example of how a Maine credit union was instrumental in preventing elder financial abuse. Senator Angus King is also among the early co-sponsors of the bill.

"In 2015, a senior citizen member of Maine Savings FCU sought to wire funds from the credit union to an out-of-state account, supposedly to bail out a relative in jail. Something about this transaction did not sound right to the credit union employee. She asked the customer, who said he had received a call from an 'official' at the jail—but that 'official' has instructed him not to speak to anyone. That 'official' of course, turned out to be a con artist," Collins said. "Fortunately, the credit union worker recognized this as a scam, and saved her customer from falling victim and losing his savings."

The Maine CU League has discussed the issue of elder financial abuse on many occasions with Senator Collins and members of her staff, as well as providing examples and resources to help build support for the bill's passage. "Maine credit unions have had significant involvement in supporting this issue, and we are grateful to Senator Collins for not only re-introducing the legislation but for highlighting a Maine CU in her remarks," stated John Murphy, President of the Maine CU League, adding, "We are proud that both the lead sponsor and one of the early co-sponsors are both from Maine."

The Senior$afe Act is based on Maine's innovative Senior$afe program, a collaborative effort with the Maine CU League, in which it had a leadership role, Maine's regulators, other financial institutions, and legal organizations. Last year, the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing examining programs on the state level that aim to stop financial exploitation of seniors.

"As Maine's population continues to age, the importance of protecting our seniors from financial fraud and mismanagement of their money takes on added significance.  Maine's credit unions have a long history of leadership on this issue, and look forward to supporting Senator Collins' initiative to make this a nationwide program," Murphy concluded.