Credit unions are on the frontline in the fight against elder financial exploitation. To help in that effort, League InfoSight now offers a Trusted Contact Toolkit, which members of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues can access.
“Trusted contact” model procedures, model script, authorization form, and a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) sheet are just a few of the resources included in this new toolkit. Additional materials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) are also listed.
Having members name a “trusted contact” is different from adding a joint owner or a beneficiary to an account. Instead, this is someone the member authorizes as a point of contact should the credit union suspect the member is being financially exploited. A trusted contact does NOT have control over a member’s finances, ownership interests, or authorizations to access, transact on, or withdraw money from the member’s accounts.
A common instance where this measure is useful is when a member is faced with declining cognitive or physical abilities and becomes more reliant on others for their financial management. This is when a member is most vulnerable to financial crime. Having one or more trusted contacts on file serves as extra help for a credit union navigating this kind of emergency situation.
This toolkit provides credit unions all the materials necessary to start a “trusted contact” person service without having to begin from scratch. Obtaining trusted contacts from members is an emerging and beneficial practice among financial institutions, but having those conversations with members before there is a crisis is not easy. However, this toolkit goes a long way to help in that process.
Multiple agencies — including the CFPB and the NCUA — have encouraged credit unions to consider permitting members, especially the most vulnerable, to add a trusted contact person to their account information as another line of defense against financial fraud. An account holder may designate a “trusted contact” — a dependable person whom a credit union may contact if they are concerned the account holder is experiencing fraud, a health crisis, or another emergency that may affect financial affairs.
To download the toolkit, log-in to League InfoSight!