Sixth Age-Friendly Banking convening

The sixth Age-Friendly Banking convening brings together leaders and changemakers in financial institutions, community-based organizations, aging networks, financial regulators, law regulators and public health leaders to reflect on progress and develop new strategies for moving financial institutions to improve the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income  older adults. 

Nan Gibson, Executive Director of Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase, Washington, DC
Karen Kali, Program Manager of Special Initiatives, NCRC, Washington, DC

Andrew Dunn, Senior Associate, Center for Financial Services Innovation, New York, NY
Dr. Annie Harper, Associate Research Scientist, Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Jenn Jones, Chief of Membership and Policy, NCRC, Washington, DC
Naomi Karp, Senior Policy Analyst, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Washington, DC
Elie Khoury, Principal Research Scientist, Pindrop, Marietta, GA
Ron Long, Director of Elder Client, Wells Fargo, St. Louis, MO
James Rudyk, Jr., Executive Director, Northwest Side Housing Center, Chicago, IL

By Emily Kaplan

The sixth annual National Age-Friendly Banking Convening, co-hosted by JPMorgan Chase & Co, sought to highlight new initiatives, trending research and advancements in the field of Age-Friendly Banking.

Andrew Dunn, senior associate from Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), discussed CFSI’s newest report, “Redesigning the Financial Roadmap for the LMI 50+ Segment.” The report details the five main factors that are impacting the financial stability of low- to moderate-income older adults; including vulnerability in case of a financial emergency, difficulty in maintaining a long-term savings account and an inability to benefit from investment; and the serious implications these have on financial health. Dunn also mentioned the debt burden that many in the LMI 50+ community face. Extensive debt can delay or prevent older adults from saving for their retirement. In addition, the report shows that many LMI 50+ individuals are without health insurance, leaving them vulnerable to medical shocks that can directly affect their ability to work. Another defining factor for LMI 50+ people is the inability to retire completely, and for those who choose to retire, they still struggle significantly with financial health. The final factor that Dunn touched on that impacts the financial health and wellness of the LMI 50+ segment is what he called “the catch-22 of family.” This refers to the positive and negative ways family obligations and relationships interact with financial health.

Annie Harper, a research scientist from Yale University, discussed the many ways in which the financial hardships of the LMI 50+ community overlap with many of the hardships that those with severe mental illness (SMI) face. Some of the ways the LMI 50+ community and the SMI community overlap include issues around poverty, cognitive health challenges and unmet banking needs. Harper believes there is a need for more intentional collaboration between advocates and researchers supporting these two populations, because there is a significant amount of room to work together and with increased collaboration. The lives of the people in both communities could be greatly improved.

James Rudyk, executive director of the Northwest Side Housing Center, spoke about the different ways his organization supports LMI 50+ people in Chicago. The North Westside Housing Center provides services through HUD certified housing counseling, a financial opportunity center, community organizing and leadership development and their Northwest Side Community Development Corporation. One of the ways Rudyk supports the LMI older adults in his community is by working with local banks to implement Age-Friendly Banking practices. It started through a listening session held with older adults on the Northwest side of Chicago to determine their access to banking and financial education. From that grew their first partnership with First Midwest Bank to improve the quality of financial services for LMI older adults in the community.

Part of improving the quality of financial services includes the Senior Ambassador Program. This program empowers older adults by giving them the responsibility of helping others in the community to navigate the bank. Senior Ambassadors come in on designated days throughout the month, generally when Social Security checks come in, and the bank provides them with a small stipend for their contribution. This program gives Senior Ambassadors extra cash in their pocket, while improving the quality of the bank’s services for their other older adult customers.

Naomi Karp, senior policy analyst at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, spoke about the CFPB’s new report on the issues with and trends of elder financial abuse and exploitation revealed in Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). Karp indicated that filing of SARs has increased a significant amount between 2013 and 2017. She did recognize that SARs likely only represent a small portion of the 3.5 million incidents of elder financial exploitation estimated to have happened in 2017. In addition, they found that banks and credit unions are not the only financial institutions filing SARs. Money services businesses are becoming a growing share of the SARs being reported (58 percent in 2017). However, Karp said that their report shows that although the number of reports is increasing, less than a third of the people who filed a SAR also filed a report with first responders.

Elie Khoury, principal research scientist at Pindrop, and Rong Long, the director of Elder Client Initiatives at Wells Fargo Advisors, concluded by discussing the use of voice recognition and biometrics authentication. Khoury touched on the technical side of the technology by explaining exactly how voice biometrics and aging work and mentioning the potential security risks that voice biometrics pose. Long discussed the ways in which Wells Fargo is using biometric voice recognition to assist seniors with their financial services. Instead of having to remember lengthy passwords, this new technology gives older adults the option to use their voice to access their accounts. This eliminates the need for older adults to write down passwords to sensitive bank information, or use very simplistic (and therefore easily discernible) passwords, which runs the risk of fraudsters gaining access to their account information. Older adults are at high risk for falling victim to financial exploitation, and this could be one tool to help fight against that. The use of biometrics and artificial intelligence specifically is still relatively new and worthy of thought and consideration as the practice advances over time.

Dr. Annie Harper
annie harper – Presentation for Age Friendly Banking Convening 3-13-19.pptx

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