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September 2003

Former Banking Commissioner Gilley Joins Effort to Expand Senior Crimestoppers Program

Former Tennessee banking commissioner Talmadge Gilley has joined a statewide effort to increase the number of banks participating in a program aimed at reducing crime in nursing homes, and providing safe living environments for Tennessee’s 40,000 nursing home residents.

Gilley, who was banking commissioner from 1990 to 1996, is serving as a special consultant to the Memphis-based Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, which uses Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) designated investments and loans from banks to establish Senior Crimestoppers programs in nursing homes and housing units that serve low- and moderate-income residents.

Since its inception in 1995, Senior Crimestoppers has substantially reduced crime at participating Tennessee nursing homes. Currently, almost half of the state’s nursing homes have established the program. Incidents of crime in those facilities have decreased by 88.12 percent, according to the foundation statistics.

Gilley, who has lived in Murfreesboro since his retirement from what is now the state Department of Financial Institutions, said he enjoys introducing the program to banks across the state because of its effectiveness in creating crime-free living environments for nursing home residents, and providing outstanding community service credits for participating banks.

“After talking with friends and family, I realized this problem has been around for a long time,” Gilley said. “And the foundation program is set up in such a way that it makes it very easy for banks to provide this very valuable service.

“In fact,” he said, “when I first heard about the program, I told my wife ‘there’s got to be something I am missing, because this program is too good to be true.’ ”

Under the program, banks are able to invest or lend funds to the foundation as a way to fulfill requirements of the CRA, a federal mandate that ensures that banks meet the diverse credit and investment needs of the markets they serve. The foundation uses a portion of the yield from the funds to set up Senior Crimestoppers programs for nursing homes and senior HUD housing units in the banks’ direct assessment areas.

This program provides a “24/7 call-center” to which crimes and suspicious activity can be reported anonymously. It also funds cash rewards for those who give valid tips and provides residents with personal lock boxes. This helps alleviate one of the main problems associated with nursing homes—the theft, loss or misplacement of residents’ personal items.

“Once bankers hear about the Senior Crimestoppers program, they understand it is a win-win proposition,” said foundation president Charles C. King III. “It allows banks to provide a valuable service for nursing home residents and their families, it builds good will in the community, it qualifies dollar-for-dollar for CRA credit each year, and it is a prudent business and profitability decision.”

“We asked Talmadge Gilley to join our efforts to raise awareness among bankers. Because of his knowledge and banking experience, and the many relationships he developed during his years of service to the industry and the state, we feel he will help us bring the program to a completely new level of participation in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Bankers Association, which earlier this year endorsed the foundation program, is also partnering in the efforts to increase bank participation and help reduce crime at nursing homes and low-income housing units across the country.

“We want to help introduce the foundation and the Senior Crimestoppers program to as many banks as possible,” said TBA President Brad Barrett, “not only in Tennessee but across the nation. Part of our strategy is to share the success in Tennessee and the benefits of the program with other state banking associations.”

“Talmadge Gilley is going to be a great asset in our efforts to help spread the word and build support for the program among Tennessee banks,” Barrett said.

Gilley, who joined the state department regulating banks in 1959, served in a variety of positions. He was promoted to review examiner in 1970 and was named deputy commissioner in 1973, a position he held in until being named commissioner in 1990 by Gov. Ned McWherter.

For more information on the foundation and the Senior Crimestoppers program, call Terry Rooker at (877) 232-0859.

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