Fast Facts: What You Might Not Know About Prepaid Cards

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more. This iteration focuses on the ins-and-outs of prepaid cards: a flexible financial alternative for underbanked individuals.

A flexible financial alternative for underbanked individuals, prepaid cards are among the fastest growing payment products in the United States, proving to save money both for users and the American taxpayer.

FACT: Prepaid cards provide an effective alternative for millions of consumers who don’t have access to a checking account and, increasingly, a convenient additional financial tool for many consumers who have checking accounts. Almost $1 trillion in payments from employers and the government are made to 80 million adults in the U.S. who are financially underserved. For many, replacing paper checks with direct deposits is not an option.

FACT: Prepaid cards allow the 11 million households in the U.S. without bank accounts to be part of the mainstream American economy, make electronic payments, and receive electronic fund transfers.

FACT: A 2012 study finds that 73% of prepaid card holders are highly satisfied with the product, 61% prefer prepaid cards to credit cards, and only 37% prefer to use cash.

FACT: Prepaid cards are inexpensive to use. According to a 2011 Bretton Woods study, prepaid cards only cost users an average of $185 per year, while it costs on average $273 per year to use a basic checking account and $256 per year to use a check casher.

FACT: A 2012 Pew study found that prepaid cards are less expensive than checking accounts for financially inexperienced consumers.

FACT: Prepaid cards are widely accepted. Cards from large brands, such as Visa and MasterCard, can be used everywhere debit cards are accepted and at millions of ATMs worldwide.

FACT: Prepaid cards are safe by allowing consumers to make purchases and pay bills without carrying large amounts of cash. In addition, prepaid cards frequently provide zero liability to the cardholder if it is lost or stolen.

FACT: Nearly all prepaid cards in the U.S. are issued by banks, as a 2012 survey found 47 percent of banking customers are more likely to use prepaid cards if offered by their financial institution.

FACT: Prepaid are useful for all kinds of people in a variety of contexts. For example, they facilitate inclusion and build financial literacy skills by helping families limit spending and stay on a budget.

FACT: Prepaid cards are used by people of all income levels. Of those who are likely to use prepaid cards, 26.4% earn less than $35,000 per year, 36.7% earn between $35,000 and $65,000 per year, 22.1% earn between $66,000 and $100,000 per year, and 14.8% earn over $100,000 per year.

FACT:  Governments are turning to electronic payments because they are efficient and cost effective. Prepaid cards allow those without bank accounts, including 4 million Social Security recipients, to still receive their payments in an easy, electronic way.

FACT: Prepaid cards save taxpayer dollars. While it costs the federal government $1.03 to issue each paycheck, it only costs 10.5 cents to issue an electronic payment. The U.S. Treasury estimates it will save more than $1 billion over 10 years by switching from a check-based system to electronic payments with a prepaid card option.

FACT: Prepaid cards save paper. The U.S. Treasury estimates it will save 12 million pounds of paper over 5 years from making Social Security payments electronically.

FACT: A spring 2012 study finds that 95% of recipients are satisfied with the Treasury’s electronic benefit payment system and 93% would recommend it to friends and family.

You can view all previous Fast Facts at www.RoundtableResearch.org. Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: Financial Literacy

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Below are some updated Fast Facts on Financial Literacy in honor of National Financial Literacy Month.

2004 was the first year the United States Senate officially designated April as National Financial Literacy Month, with the House following in 2005. The overarching goal is to teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits and make informed financial decisions.

FACT: Research shows that financial curriculum can have a positive impact on how consumers manage their finances.

  • Financial education is likely to increase savings, use of banking services, home purchases and improvements in overall financial health.
  • Prudent use of insurance products protects financial assets, including the consumer’s most valuable asset – the ability to earn an income.

FACT: Even after the pain of the most recent financial crisis, few Americans are making wise financial decisions.

FACT: Through the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, the Federal Government has developed a national financial education website and hotline, compiling information from over 20 agencies.

  • Efforts include teaching materials provided by the FDIC, Department of the Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Department of Education.

FACT: The Financial Services Roundtable member companies have focused much of their community service initiatives on financial literacy, completing 42,320 financial literacy projects in 2012.

  • Projects served a broad base of consumers, including students, adults, service members, the elderly, and un-banked or under-banked Americans.
  • The vast majority of Roundtable companies are engaged with Junior Achievement USA, fostering financial literacy to 4.2 million US students annually.
  • A full listing of programs provided by our members is available on our website, in addition to a financial literacy roadmap with free resources and curriculum for K-12 education.

FACT: The Roundtable Scholarship Foundation established a financial literacy scholarship in 2011 to encourage high school students to participate in financial education courses before entering college.

  • 17 students received the award in 2012, an increase from 9 students the previous year.

 

You can view all previous Fast Facts at www.RoundtableResearch.org.

Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: Dodd-Frank Cumulative Weight

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast Facts on The Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed in July 2012 in an effort to reform the financial industry. To date, the complex legislation has been met with mixed success and unintended consequences.

FACT: According to a Davis Polk report, as of March 1, 2013, 148 of the 398 total rulemakings required by Dodd Frank have been finalized, with 129 yet to be proposed.

  • 279 rulemaking requirement deadlines have passed. 176 of these deadlines have been missed, and only 103 have been met with finalized rules.
  • Over the month of February, 12 out of 42 deadlines were met with finalized rules, and no new rules were proposed.

FACT: The General Accounting Office stated that the Dodd Frank Act has had two main financial impacts on institutions; increased regulatory compliance and other costs, and reduced revenue due to restrictions on certain activities.

FACT: In order to understand and comply with the far reaching regulations of the act, agencies and financial institutions have hired more full time employees.

FACT: In August 2012, Standard & Poor’s reported that the Dodd Frank Act could reduce pretax earnings for eight of the largest banks by between $22 billion and $34 billion each year.

  • Much of the higher projected costs reflect the regulators’ likelihood to take a more strict interpretation of the Volcker Rule.
  • The Volcker Rule’s restrictions on proprietary trading and investment in hedge and private equity funds will eliminate past sources of trading and income for some banks.

FACT: The Dodd Frank Act required banks to hold more capital while restricting what qualifies as capital, making payments to investors or retaining earnings more difficult.

The FDIC has announced plans to double the size of the Deposit Insurance Fund, which would take an additional $50 billion out of the industry’s earnings and capital.

You can view all previous Fast Facts at www.RoundtableResearch.org. Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: America Saves Week

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast Facts on America Saves Week, an annual opportunity for organizations to promote good savings behavior and a chance for individuals to assess their own saving status.

Each year since 2007, America Saves Week, coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council, has been an opportunity for many organizations to participate in the education of employees and consumers on the importance of personal savings.
FACT: The US savings rate has been steadily on the rise since September 2012, reaching 6.5% at the close of the year.

  • The savings rate was on a downward trend for 23 years until 2008, when consumers tightened their budgets in response to the recession.
  • The average savings rate from 2000-2007 was 2.8%.

FACT: The Consumer Federation of America’s annual savings report found that only half of Americans think they are prepared for the future or are saving for retirement.

  • The FDIC recommends planning for life events and emergencies early. An emergency savings fund of 3-6 month’s income is a good way to cover unforeseen events like job loss or car repairs.
  • The Principal Financial Group’s retirement readiness program projects workers need to save 11-15% of total income over the course of their career to maintain a desired standard of living.
  • When planning for retirement, learn what your social security benefits will be and use an online calculator to budget your savings each month.

FACT: Many employers offer automatic savings or retirement contribution plans. Participating in these programs may be the easiest way to save, with a percentage of income automatically invested or transferred to an account to compound interest.

FACT: By 2002, all states had developed Section 529 college savings plans to encourage saving for higher education. In 2011, the value invested in those accounts rose to $165 billion.

  • 529 plans can either be set up as savings plans to be used for various college expenses or a prepaid tuition plan, where savers can purchase units or credits at participating colleges for future tuition.
  • Investing in a 529 plan often provides tax benefits, but will reduce eligibility for need-based financial aid. If a child or beneficiary of these plans decides not to attend college, funds they remove from the account will be subject to tax.

You can view all previous Fast Facts at www.RoundtableResearch.orgCopyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: Child Identity Theft

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast Facts on child identity theft as children may be an easy target for identity theft and often don’t discover it until years later when they apply for a job or attempt to take out a loan.

FACT: One in 40 households in the US with children under the age of ages 18 is affected by identity fraud.

FACT: 56% of child identity theft cases reported misuse of the child’s Social Security Number (SSN).

  • Thieves will often create a ‘synthetic identity’ using the child’s SSN and a different name, date of birth, and address, to obtain new bank or credit accounts for financial gain, or services such as utilities, phone, cellular, and Internet.
  • Children’s information is also used to commit non-financial identity theft, including obtaining fraudulent tax returns or government benefits, housing rental, employment, medical treatment, or evading criminal charges.

FACT: Lower income families are disproportionately affected by child identity fraud, with 50% of victims living in households with incomes under $35,000.

  • Of victims who were able to identify the perpetrators of these crimes, 36% found them to be family members, and an additional 35% were family friends.

FACT: Child identity fraud can be avoided. Check early and often.

  • Keep personal information like birth certificates and social security cards locked away and sensitive computer documents password protected. Use a cross-cut paper shredder before disposing of paper documents of this nature.
  • Teach children how to be safe online, particularly while visiting unsecured websites and using social media.

FACT: Federal law under the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act allows for the request of one free credit report per year.

  • If your child’s identity has been stolen, contact the three credit reporting agencies to place a fraud alert, and then file the theft claim with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Because a child’s SSN is often used as part of a synthetic identity, ask each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax (1-800-525-6285), Experian (1-888-397-3742) and TransUnion (childidtheft@transunion.com), for a manual search for your child’s credit report, based only on the child’s SSN.
  • Ask each agency for its mailing address, because you will need to provide a cover letter with proof that you are the child’s parent or legal guardian.
  • You may consider placing a credit freeze to prevent thieves from opening additional accounts under your child’s name.

For more information on how to combat child identity theft and learn preventative measures, visit the Identity Theft Assistance Center website.

 

Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: Financial Executive Economic Outlook Report

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of it’s Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. This series is the The Financial Services Roundtable’s first bi-annual Financial Executive Economic Outlook Report, which shows positive expectations for company profitability and capital reserves, despite an increase in compliance costs.

FACT: In a survey of Roundtable member leadership, ninety percent of financial services executives expect their companies’ profitability to increase (58%) or stay the same (32%) during the next six months.

  • 10% expect their companies’ profitability to decrease.

FACT: Roundtable executives are optimistic about employment: nearly three-quarters of executives expect employment to stay the same (36%) or increase (38%) during the next six months, while one-quarter (26%) expect employment at their firms to decrease.

FACT: Capital reserves are at historic highs, and are expected to continue rising.

  • Nearly all financial services executives expect capital reserves to increase (72%) or stay the same (25%) during the next six months.
  • Banks’ average Tier 1 capital ratio set a new record of 13.25% in the third quarter of 2012, according to FDIC data, and bank capital is at $1.6 trillion – the highest level in history.

FACT: Overwhelmingly, financial services executives expect compliance costs to increase during the next six months.

  • 84% of industry executives expect compliance costs to increase during the next six months; 15% expect compliance costs to stay the same; and only 1.6% expect compliance costs to decrease.

FACT:  Government regulation and fiscal uncertainty are the largest challenges hindering company growth.

  • Top policy issues are split between capital and liquidity rules (30%) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (28%).
Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

Fast Facts: Student Loans

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast Facts on student loans, which are  the largest form of consumer debt outside of home mortgages.

FACT:  More Americans are attending college at a time when college is getting more expensive.

  • Total college enrollment has increased 50% in the last 15 years.
  • College costs are increasing at double the rate of inflation.  Last year, tuition and fees grew 8.3% for in-state students at 4-year public schools, whereas the Consumer Price Index increased 3.6% between July 2010-July 2011.

FACT:  Many students borrow money to pay for a college degree.

FACT:  Student loans are now the largest form of consumer debt outside of home mortgages, eclipsing both auto loans and credit cards, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

FACT:  The vast majority of student loans are federal loans.

FACT: Private student loans often supplement federal borrowing to help families pay for the higher cost college of their choice.

FACT:  Private student loans have a significantly lower default rate than federal student loans.

FACT:  The federal government can recover defaulted student loans through administrative wage garnishment, offsetting federal tax refunds, and even part of Social Security checks.

  • In contrast, private lenders may not use these methods to collect on education loans.  Further, collections on private education loans are subject to statute of limitations; there is no statute of limitation on the collection of defaulted federal loans.

FACT:  Seventy-two percent of college students who graduated between 2006 and 2011 report that they have paid off one-quarter or more of their college loans, according to the Center for Workforce Development.

FACT:  On average, Americans with a college degree are twice as likely to be employed as the national average.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment for those with a bachelor’s degree and higher is 3.9%, compared the national average of 7.8%.
  • An American with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn more than $1 million more over their lifetime than someone who never went to college.

Copyright © 2013 The Financial Services Roundtable, All rights reserved.

 

Fast Facts: Economic Impact of the Fiscal Cliff

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of it’s Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast Facts on the economic impact of the fiscal cliff.

FACT: The fiscal cliff consists of dramatic tax increases and automatic spending cuts scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013.

FACT:  The fiscal cliff would remove approximately $600 billion from the economy in 2013 (twice the projected growth in U.S. GDP this year) and more than $8 trillion over the next ten years.

FACT:  The Congressional Budget Office projects that the U.S. economy will go into a recession in 2013 (including real GDP contracting by 2.9% in the first quarter of 2013 and an unemployment rate over 9%) if Congress and the Administration do not address the fiscal cliff before the end of the year.

FACT:  Many independent groups are speaking out about the negative economic impacts if the fiscal cliff occurs.  Moreover, businesses are saying that uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff is negatively impacting their lending, hiring, and company growth right now.

  • Failure to reach even a temporary arrangement to prevent the fiscal cliff and a repeat of the August 2011 debt ceiling episode would mean that the general election had not resolved the political gridlock in Washington and would probably result in a sovereign rating downgrade by Fitch. Fitch Ratings.  November 7, 2012.
  • If <fiscal> negotiations fail to produce policies that lead to debt stabilization and ultimately reduction, then we expect to lower the rating, probably to Aa1.  Moody’s Investors Service.  November 7, 2012.
  • If the U.S. falls off the fiscal cliff, it will take most of the decade for economic activity and employment levels to recover from the fiscal shock.  There will be a recession in 2013 and dramatically slowed growth in 2014.  More than 6 million jobs will be lost; the unemployment rate will be more than 11 percent; and there will be a cumulative 12.8 percent drop in GDP.  National Association of Manufacturers.  October 26, 2012.
  • Economists from member companies of The Financial Services Roundtable convened on October 25th and unanimously agreed the fiscal cliff is imposing a negative drag on business lending, hiring, spending, and investment right now. The Financial Services Roundtable. October 25, 2012.
  • Chief executives from 80 big-name U.S. corporations have banded together in the “Campaign to Fix the Debt,” ringing the opening bell at the NYSE and urging policymakers to deal with America’s out-of-control national debt by forging a comprehensive, bipartisan deal, not by going over the fiscal cliff.  Campaign to Fix the Debt.October 25, 2012.
  • At the end of the day, the United States is the biggest economy in the world and the dollar is the reserve currency in the world. I think it behooves us to act in a much more responsible way <with respect to the fiscal cliff.> Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Goldman Sachs. October 24, 2012.
  • General Electric refinanced $5 billion of bonds reaching maturity early next year to avoid any market downturn ahead of the looming fiscal cliff. General Electric. October 22, 2012.
  • Fifteen CEOs of the largest banks in the U.S. sent a letter to the President and to Congress, saying, “The consequences of inaction – for stability in global financial markets, for economic growth, for millions of Americans still without work and for the financial circumstances of American businesses and households – would be very grave.” The Financial Services Forum. October 18, 2012.
  • 42% of fund managers report that the fiscal cliff is their number one investment risk– up from 35% in September and 26% in August. Bank of America Merrill Lynch. October 16, 2012.
  • U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis lowered its loan-growth expectations for the fourth quarter to reflect borrower uncertainty about the election, the fiscal cliff and the overall economic environment. Richard Davis, CEO U.S. Bank. October 17, 2012.
  • 61% of American clients say the fiscal cliff is affecting their hiring plans. J.P. Morgan.  October 6, 2012.
  • Macro Risk Advisors October survey of market uncertainty factors shows the risk most cited by U.S. investors as relevant to market conditions is the fiscal cliff and upcoming elections. Macro Risk Advisors. October 2012.
  • It would be smart to at least temporarily stop the full implementation of spending cuts, which would cause a lot of angst. Blackrock Investment Institute. October 2012.
  • We expect that the S&P 500 will fall sharply following the election when investors finally recognize the serious possibility that the ‘fiscal cliff’ problem will not be solved in a smooth fashion.  Goldman Sachs Global Economics, Commodities and Strategy Research team, September 25, 2012.
  • In our view, the U.S. economy is being hit with an uncertainty shock because of the looming fiscal cliff. Our forecast assumes that the uncertainty shock slows growth to 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter of this year.” Bank of America Merrill Lynch,  September 24, 2012.
  • Despite individual bank improvements, outlook for bank stocks is negative, predominately due to “a challenging domestic operating environment, characterized by low interest rates, high unemployment, weak economic growth and uncertainty over US fiscal policy.” Moody’s Investment Outlook for Banks. September 13, 2012.
  • More than 40% of companies cite the fiscal cliff as a major reason for their spending restraint.  Morgan Stanley. August 5, 2012.
  • Small business owners rated the severity of 75 business issues. Uncertainty about the economy ranked second while uncertainty about government policy ranked fourth, followed by unreasonable government regulations (fifth); federal taxes on business income (sixth); tax complexity (seventh), and; frequent changes in federal tax laws and rules (eighth). For perspective, securing long term funding was 56thNational Federation of Independent Business.  August 2012.
  • Nine out of ten small businesses are concerned about Congress’ ability to reach consensus on the fiscal cliff; 59% say failure to address the fiscal cliff will have a direct impact on their company’s growth.  U.S.  Chamber of Commerce.  July 16, 2012.

FACT: Economic output would be greater and unemployment lower in 2013 if the fiscal cliff were addressed before the end of the year, according to analysis from the Congressional Budget Office.

 

For additional resources and examples of member programs, visit http://www.fsround.org/fsr/financial_literacy/financial_literacy_corner.asp.

Fast Facts: Recent Cyber Attacks

The Financial Services Roundtable released its 2012 Fast Facts Book in September, which contains Fast Facts from January 2012 through July 2012. We shared  information on preventing financial exploitation of of the elderly in a recent post. Below are some updated Fast Facts on recent cyber attacks.

FACT:  Since late September 2012, large financial institutions have been the subject of (or threatened to be the subject of) attacks intended to disrupt the availability of their Web sites.  A group that calls itself the Cyber Fighters of Izz ad-din Al Qassam has claimed credit for these attacks.

FACT:  The attacks have flooded certain bank Web sites with an extremely high volume of electronic traffic from thousands of locations around the world.  This flood of traffic, called “a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack,” is intended to slow down or disable the bank’s Web site.

FACT:  The attacks are not designed to be – and have not resulted in – a data breach, hacking, or unauthorized access to consumer information.

  • Consumers can access their accounts through alternative means, including bank branch offices and call centers.

FACT:  The financial services industry has robust cyber protections in place.

  • Banks collaborate with other banks, federal regulators such as Treasury, law enforcement officials, other government agencies such as the FBI and DHS, Internet Service Providers, and Internet security experts to fully analyze and deflect online attacks and deliver safe and consistent online service.
  • Financial services institutions use sophisticated online security strategies to protect customer accounts and continue to invest in technology to increase capacity and defend against potential attacks.
  • Financial services institutions are regularly examined by their primary federal regulator to ensure their compliance with cybersecurity regulations and information standards, including standards set in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and FFIEC Information Technology Examination Handbooks.
  • Financial services institutions collaborate with the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) which is an industry forum for collaboration on critical security threats facing the financial services sector.

FACT:  While there is nothing in particular that customers can do in response to the DDoS attacks, consumers can improve the general security of their private information by using the following tips:

  • Install on your computer—and keep updated—anti-virus software, firewall and anti-spyware software.
  • Set your computer’s operating system and browser to “automatic download” to ensure your operating system and browser include the latest security updates.
  • Don’t get hooked by phishing.  Do not respond to unsolicited emails requesting personal information and do not download attachments on unsolicited emails.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.  The best passwords are long—a minimum of 8 characters—and complex. Not your birthday or the name of a child or pet.  Use a combination of numbers, symbols and letter; something meaningful to you like an acronym or batting averages, but not easily guessed.

For additional resources and examples of member programs, visithttp://www.fsround.org/fsr/financial_literacy/financial_literacy_corner.asp.

Preventing Financial Exploitation Of The Elderly

The Financial Services Roundtable released its 2012 Fast Facts Book in September, which contains Fast Facts from January 2012 through July 2012. Fast Facts provides reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Below are a section of Fast Facts on preventing financial exploitation of the elderly.

By 2030, seniors will make up over one-sixth of the U.S. population. As our population grows older, it is essential to educate people about how to protect themselves from financial exploitation.

FACT: The annual financial loss for victims of elder abuse is around $2.9 billion, which is a 12% increase from 2008, according to a 2011 MetLife study of Elder Financial Abuse.

FACT: The elderly are a target for financial abuse because they may be more likely to depend on others for help, have predictable patterns, and have little understanding of modern management of finances. Additionally, they often have accumulated savings. Persons over the age of 50 control over 70% of the nation’s wealth, according to one survey.

FACT: Men and women of any race, economic level, or health status can become victims of elder financial abuse.

  • Women are twice as likely to become victims
  • Most victims are between the ages of 80 and 89
  • Most victims live alone and require help with health issues and home maintenance

FACT: The most common perpetrators of financial abuse are family members, who commit nearly 75% of crimes.

FACT: Signs of exploitation of the elderly include: unpaid bills, changes in banks or attorneys, changes in spending patterns, missing property, unfamiliar signatures, and a lack of personal amenities.

FACT: Many Roundtable member companies are coordinating to protect elderly customers from financial abuse. Examples include:

  • Capital One has partnered with the Consumer Action advocacy group to create MoneyWi$e. MoneyWi$e is a national personal financial education program offering free materials and community-based training opportunities on various topics including elder fraud, identity theft, and money management. In Canada, Capitol One partnered with SeniorBusters to raise awareness about the prevalence of elder abuse and fraud.
  • City National Bank has published various materials regarding elder abuse. Such materials include a facts bulletin regarding the actions and consequences of elder abuse, examples of common identity theft methods, and what to look for when elder financial abuse is suspected.
  • Comerica Bank provides publications on how to be aware of the signs of abuse and how the bank can help. They make an effort to partner with law enforcement to conduct community seminars open to all regarding various fraud topics. They have also created county taskforces to address the issues of elder abuse to provide a response plan for elder abuse and develop a network of contacts for the members.
  • Fifth Third Bank conducts a program which informs and offers protection from elder financial abuse. Fifth Third works regularly to protect assets, prevent losses, and safeguard information through customer interaction. By getting to know their customers, they are able to watch out for unusual activities. They also pay close attention when seniors come into a banking center for service by observing if they have someone with them, noticing if they seem uneasy, and noting if the transaction is unusual in nature. They will then take immediate action to safeguard the customer.
  • First Horizon is kicking off a program to prevent identity theft in their headquarters city of Memphis. In partnership with the Memphis Police Department, County Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney General’s Office, employees will make presentations at retirement communities and other groups regarding how to protect their finances. These presentations will also be made free to any organization interested in identity theft prevention.
  • Regions Financial is providing communication and instructor led training to all associates focusing on elder financial abuse prevention. By September 30, 2012, every Regions associate will complete training on how to prevent, detect and report elder financial abuse. Regions has a long standing commitment to elder protection efforts. Since 2003, Regions has invested in the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect vulnerable seniors in housing facilities in various locations across our footprint and to provide ongoing crime prevention programs for senior housing residents.
  • The Principal Financial Group has provided grants to support WesleyLife Community Services’ Money Management program since 2007. This no-cost program promotes independent living for low to moderate income older adults and persons with disabilities who are at risk of victimization because they cannot manage their own finances. WLCS-Money Management program curriculum was designed by AARP which provides training, evaluation and technical support. Nationally, this program helped 6,000 adults in 2010 with a 98% satisfaction with service rate.
  • Wells Fargo has developed training and informational content for distribution. This includes periodic articles which are distributed via internal channels. Additionally, their Regulatory Affairs group has coordinated and hosted regional Elder Financial Abuse Symposiums in various cities around the country. This group will also conduct ongoing meetings with regulars such as FINRA, SEC and State, and is in regular contact with State APS.

For additional resources and examples of member programs, visit http://www.fsround.org/fsr/financial_literacy/financial_literacy_corner.asp.