Safety and Security

House Approves Bills To Prevent Financial Abuse Of Seniors

A duo of bills passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday (Jan. 29) that would curb financial abuse of senior citizens and also ease the way for consumers residing in rural areas to open their bank accounts via remote means.

As reported on Tuesday (Jan. 30) in American Banker, the law targeting elder abuse, which was part of previously introduced legislation, titled the Senior Safe Act, would shield bankers from legal action in the event that they suspected and reported financial abuse of seniors to authorities.

Lee Covington, vice president and general counsel of the Insured Retirement Institute, said in a statement that “by adopting this legislation, the members of the U.S. House of Representatives have taken a positive step forward to enacting into law a measure to combat financial exploitation and abuse of older Americans.”

Separately, the House passed the Making Online Banking Initiation Legal and Easy Act – also known as the Mobile Act – which would let banks and credit unions sidestep restrictions on using state-issued identification documents to open accounts. At the same time, the Act would let financial institutions scan images of those IDs in order to authenticate them and allow bank accounts to be opened. In some cases, those IDs had been allowed to be copied for KYC initiatives.

In a statement, Consumer Bankers Association President and CEO Richard Hunt said that “consumer banks have the capabilities and willingness to help millions of consumers, including many unbanked or underbanked Americans, gain access to banking products and services. We hope the Senate will consider the Mobile Act in a timely fashion.”

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