Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 20 - The Tennessee Bankers Association applauds the action of the Tennessee General Assembly for approval of the Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Financial Exploitation Prevention Act. This legislation gives bankers additional tools and greater flexibility to help protect their elderly or vulnerable adult customers when they have reason to suspect financial exploitation has occurred or is being attempted. Under the leadership of bill sponsors Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and Representative Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland), SB1267/HB1064 was approved almost unanimously by both chambers. The legislation now heads to the Governor for his signature.
“Bankers are often on the front lines of witnessing attempted exploitation, and these tools will give them greater flexibility to protect vulnerable Tennesseans,” said Tim Amos, Executive Vice President of the Tennessee Bankers Association. "This significant step gives bankers the ability to have a process to ensure that their customers receive the best, most appropriate care.”
Norris noted elderly abuse is a silent crisis in which crimes "often go unreported, leaving its helpless victims to suffer silently. And, far too frequently, it happens at the hand of those whom they trust the most."
"This bill, in conjunction with other bills this year, will work to protect the ‘Silver Tsunami’ of Tennesseans reaching retirement age in the coming years," said Norris.
The legislation provides banks with the authority to take the following actions when there is reasonable cause to suspect exploitation, including the ability to:
- Delay or refuse to conduct withdrawals from the account of an elderly customer or vulnerable adult.
- Establish a list of persons the customer would like to have contacted if the financial institution suspects the customer is a victim of financial exploitation or financial theft.
- Refuse to accept an authorized power of attorney if they believe the agent is conducting financial exploitation or financial theft against the customer.
"It's a great day for our Greatest Generation here in Tennessee,” Brooks said. “I'd like to thank the Tennessee Bankers Association for trusting me to shepherd this important bill through the committees and the House in Nashville. Today, we spoke for those who have no voice. Today, we have increased protections to those who are most vulnerable in our state. Today, Tennessee bankers have been given more tools to protect the elderly from financial fraud and potential criminal activity in our great state."
About The Tennessee Bankers Association
The Tennessee Bankers Association is a not-for-profit organization representing all of Tennessee’s commercial banks and thrift institutions. The Association provides continuing education, develops and monitors state and federal legislative agendas, disseminates information on all facets of the financial services industry, and promotes the public image of financial institutions. For more, visit www.TNBankers.org.