League, Maine CUs Part Of Coalition Presenting New Program To Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

February 21, 2014

For years, the Maine Credit Union League and Maine’s credit unions have been leaders in working to prevent financial exploitation of the elderly through training, awareness and advocacy.  At a recent press conference at the State House, the League and credit union representatives joined others to announce a new initiative called Senior$afe in the effort to help Maine’s elderly protect their finances.  

This issue has received significant attention in the past few months in the media as well as  from the Legislature including Speaker of the House Mark Eves holding Aging Roundtable discussions, which included Seaboard FCU’s Kyle Casburn representing Maine’s credit unions, and a recent Aging Summit held in Augusta and attended by representatives of the League and Maine’s credit unions.  “This issue is gaining awareness and, with Maine’s aging population, it is important to be proactive in helping to prevent elder financial abuse from happening,” explained the Maine Credit Union League’s Director of Governmental Affairs, Quincy Hentzel, who has been working closely with a coalition of partners as a member of the Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, and others, on this issue to collaborate on a training and public education program.  The Senior$afe training, which is being done through a partnership between the State, Legal Services for the Elderly, Area Agencies on Aging, the League and other financial services groups, involves helping staff recognize the signs of unusual financial activity, such as large withdrawals or a series of checks written to one person.  Training staff on how to intervene when necessary, and responding appropriately depending on the situation will also be part of the program.  

“Elder financial abuse is a growing problem, and we are proud to be part of the Senior$afe training as a way to better identify, reduce and prevent elder financial exploitation from happening,” remarked the League’s President John Murphy.  Jim Lemieux, President/CEO of Sebasticook Valley FCU and Chair of the League’s Board, attended the press conference announcing Senior$afe, said, “I think it’s the perfect program considering the demographics in the state of Maine and a great example of what collaboration can do to benefit Maine people.”