Banks want to stop elder abuse

The banking industry has called on the country’s Attorneys General to agree at Friday’s COAG meeting to changes which will empower bank staff to help detect and prevent elder financial abuse. 

At the beginning of this year the banking industry, along with seniors groups, called on the Federal Government to take the lead on these important changes to help bank staff tackle elder financial abuse. 

The proposed changes include a standardisation of power of attorney orders, a national online register and a designated body to report abuse. 

In this year’s Federal Budget, the Government announced funding for a national online register and an intent to seek agreement from states and territories for a standardisation of power of attorney orders. 

“Every year in Australia, older people are the victim of financial crimes, and while we often see terrible stories about elderly people being robbed, we very rarely get any insight into a far more silent and sinister crime being committed against older Australians – financial abuse,” Australian Banking Association Chief Executive Anna Bligh said.

“Financial abuse is a serious and far reaching problem that can happen to anyone, but some people, like the elderly, people with a disability or other vulnerable and isolated people are at greater risk. 

“Increased house prices and reasonable superannuation balances can mean that some older people are in a good financial position. For some adult children, this leads to what some refer to as inheritance impatience.

“Seniors advocacy groups and the banking industry are united in their determination to see action on this problem.

“Australia needs a standardisation of power of attorney orders, which are logged onto an online register and a legally protected body were elder financial abuse can be reported.

“Elder financial abuse can of course be reported to police directly, however, it’s often hard as those involved are often close family and friends. 

“We can’t keep drawing this out – all governments need to decide and act to ensure that Australia addresses this growing issue,” she said. 

What do you think? Should the banks have more powers to try and stop financial elder abuse? Are you worried about any moves to give banks more power in the wake of the ongoing Royal Commission into the industry?

Written by Ben


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