7 June 2018
The banking industry, along with COTA Australia and National Seniors, are calling on all the nation’s Attorneys General to agree their COAG meeting tomorrow to key 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 group, called on the Federal Government to take the lead on these important changes to help bank staff tackle elder financial abuse. Key changes are 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.
CEO of the Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh said that the ABA along with COTA Australia and National Seniors had written to each Attorney General urging them for a decisive outcome in order to empower bank staff to tackle this growing problem.
“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,” Ms 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.
“Tomorrow state and territory governments have an opportunity to join with the federal government and agree to tackle these changes.
“We can’t keep drawing this out – all governments need to decide and act to ensure that Australia addresses this growing issue,” she said.
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“Australian banks are certainly better equipped now than they were in the GFC. They’ve got 2 to 2.5 times the capital reserves put aside for a rainy day than they had in the GFC”
“The Australian Banking Association (ABA) welcomes the agreement reached today on the proposed safeguard mechanism reforms, given it paves the way for the passing of a critical piece of legislation for Australia.
“This is about engaging with the entire banking ecosystem in order to ensure the accessibility of the sector’s services are best serving our diverse community now, and into the future.”