By David Lenoir
The past year has been a trying time for our nation, particularly for America’s elderly population who were disproportionally impacted—both in terms of hospitalizations and deaths—from the coronavirus pandemic. To make matters even more difficult, many of our vulnerable citizens found themselves the victim of scammers pretending to assist with COVID-19 related services and using medical and other ill-gotten personal information to perpetrate fraud and rob them of their life savings.
As relationship lenders and financial first responders at the local level, community banks are in a unique position to help their elder customers navigate these confusing and vulnerable times.
Stats on the Situation
Roughly 20 percent of older Americans fall prey to financial exploitation totaling $3 billion annually or an average of $120,000 per elderly victim, according to a study from the AARP Public Policy Institute. And given that only one out of every 44 financial abuse cases are reported, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association, true losses from elder financial abuse could be north of $35 billion annually.
In many cases, it’s not only the customer who experiences the loss. Every year, financial institutions lose more than $1 billion in deposits due to the exploitation of older Americans, who control two-thirds of U.S. retail bank deposits.
Community Bank Resources to Respond
Community banks are uniquely positioned to help stop the financial exploitation of older Americans as providers of prevention education and information for elderly customers and their adult children, and ICBA has available resources to help.
Senior Crimestoppers and CRA Partners, operated by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, provides turnkey content for financial institutions to share with customers. Engaging with this program allows community banks to support secure living environments for seniors while earning CRA credit.
The foundation also offers educational programs on this topic through Community Banker University. The popular Elder Financial Abuse Online Training Course offers a deep-dive into how this type of fraud happens, how to detect it, and most importantly, how to prevent it. This course is available in our training plans and as a stand-alone study.
And in partnership with AARP, ICBA offers a BankSafe online training platform to ICBA member community banks, designed to empower employees with the knowledge and know how to help protect customer assets.
These resources offer key insights to help community banks thwart attacks on their older customers. In tandem with local outreach, community banks can equip seniors with the latest intel on new and prevalent senior-targeted scams including, Medicare and health insurance scams, zoom phishing emails, telemarketing/phone scams, and internet fraud.
Equipping Staff and Customers for the Future
While we can’t solve elder financial exploitation overnight, ongoing education can equip community bank staff and customers to recognize the warning signs and reduce its prevalence. With community banks leading the way, we can help root out the bad apples to stop the spread of this insidious breed of financial crime and ensure older Americans have economic security in their golden years.
Community banks are the on the front lines of this fight and know that as trusted financial partners they hold important keys to solving this critical issue.
David Lenoir is president and CEO of CRA Partners’ Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, an ICBA subsidiary, based in Memphis, Tenn.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care just published a guide interpreting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revision to their visitation guidance based on the high COVID-19 vaccination rates of nursing home residents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also updated their guidance in March and again in April regarding when long-term care facility residents are required to quarantine. To see the Consumer Voice FAQ document, visit this link .
We are pleased to announce that The Independent Community Bankers Association of Minnesota (ICBM) has recently endorsed CRA Partners as a means to help protect vulnerable senior citizens in area nursing homes, while offering banks the opportunity to earn CRA credit.
We established The Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation a 501(c)(3) in 2000 as a way for banks to earn Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit through CRA-qualified loans and investments. The structure of the SHCPF opens a segment of society to service by banks – the residents, family members and staff of nursing homes and senior HUD housing properties. Supporting low-to-moderate income Senior housing residents is an approved CRA activity designated by the federal regulatory agencies, allowing banks to receive CRA credit for supporting Foundation programs in nursing homes, HUD senior housing projects and the nation’s Veterans Nursing Homes. The focus of the SHCPF is to reduce all aspects of crime and provide ongoing, effective crime prevention programs that ensure a safe and secure environment for the residents of senior housing. In part, this is accomplished through the installation of their protection programs: Senior Crimestoppers, Senior Secure, and Senior Sentry.
“As a subsidiary of ICBA, we are delighted to work with an ICBA affiliate association as strong as ICBM to help their members continue to serve their communities,” said Ron Brooks, Vice President, Midwest Region – CRA Partners.
For over 20 years, CRA Partners has helped banks obtain the credit they deserve for safeguarding seniors, all without overhead or administrative hassles. Banks get involved through a community development loan, community development investment or a grant. Their flexible, low-risk funding options also help tailor the program to your bank’s CRA needs.
For more information about the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation or to enroll in the program, visit www.SHCPFoundation.org, contact Ron Brooks at the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation at (901) 500-7538 or email him at [email protected] .
2020 – a year that we will never forget. The impact this year has made on all of us will be long lasting. Moreover, the impact on seniors has been unequaled. Thank you for your support of our mission to protect seniors, especially now.
Our mission is to provide safe and secure living environments for residents of senior care facilities. As you will see, our bank partners are protecting thousands of senior housing residents nationwide by funding our proven elder abuse and crime prevention programs – and we are so grateful for your support.
In this report, we share how banks protect low- to moderate-income seniors and earn CRA credit by supporting our turnkey programs. We are excited about the launch of two new programs – Senior Secure and Senior Sentry, in addition to our flagship program – Senior Crimestoppers. All these programs advance our mission of protecting seniors and helping banks earn CRA credit. In the ever-changing financial, healthcare and regulatory landscape, it is truly an exciting time.
It is a privilege to work with such a hard-working, enthusiastic staff and board of directors who are passionate about our mission of protecting seniors. Furthermore, I’d like to thank our network of partners—banks, bankers associations, and healthcare associations—across the country that are dedicated to enriching their communities. Our work would not be possible without you, so I extend my deepest appreciation to you in your support of our mission.
President & CEO
Banks all across the US, are making a real difference in the lives of senior citizens confined to nursing facilities and veterans’ homes. We all know how hard residents of senior homes have been impacted by the pandemic. As all resources are stretched thin to protect the most vulnerable among us, senior facility directors can use all the help they can get to ensure the safety and comfort of those they care for. It has become increasingly difficult to keep spirits up while visitation is restricted. That is a niche that community banks are filling by sponsoring programs put forth by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation.
When banks participate in foundation programs like Senior CrimestoppersTM, Senior SecureTM, and Senior SentryTM, everyone benefits. The seniors of course get all the various the safety and security components that increase their well-being, among them education on financial abuse prevention, while banks earn CRA credit. But especially as senior homes face unprecedented challenges, the Wish Comes True grants included with a bank’s sponsorship of Senior CrimestoppersTM have become especially valuable.
As part of a bank’s sponsorship of a facility, the Foundation makes an annual grant for the facility to use on a “Wish”. Wishes that have been fulfilled in the past were typically for fun things like a piano for a recreation room, or to take residents on outings to places like the zoo or the ballpark. We are seeing a new trend now where facilities are using these grants to deal with the challenges presented by the pandemic. The fact is that at many facilities that serve those with low to moderate income, there often isn’t enough budget to absorb the increased costs associated with fighting Covid-19.
Here is a representative list of how many facilities are using the funds to supplement their budget for hard to get essentials:
And here is how some have gotten creative in order to fight the isolation experienced through months under quarantine:
As banks are looking for ways to extend additional support and care for the communities they serve, working with the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation along with CRA Partners is a fantastic option to make an immediate impact in your community where it is most needed.
We are delighted to welcome our newest Senior Crimestoppers Field Rep, Rich Widerynski. He will be serving senior housing and healthcare facilities in Southern California, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.
Rich has 20+ years within the nursing home administration business and has worked closely with the California Healthcare Association. He comes to us with experience in a variety of management positions in the acute care setting before beginning his 23-year career as a nursing home administrator in the Los Angeles area. Rich has held positions in clinical patient care, consulting, mental health services, disaster preparedness and management, and brings a deep understanding of the challenges facing the skilled nursing center profession. He has built and led effective teams and has worked to motivate people in challenging work environments while always focusing on improving patient care.
Rich received his Masters of Social Work from West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia and a Masters in Health Care Administration from California State University in Long Beach, California. A lifelong learner and avid reader, Rich lives in Long Beach, CA with his wife, 2 German shepherd females and his Siamese cat, Cleo. Cleo is the only girl in the house that really listens to him.
Welcome Rich! We are excited to have you as a part of our team!
Here we share with you .pdf files for download that senior facilities can print out and use as placemats or handouts with their residents on a variety of topics that will help prevent seniors from becoming victims of fraud.
In our inauguaral episode, host Ron Brooks, CRA Partners Vice President, Midwestern Region, interviews Brian Waters & Ben Loehle, Co-Founders of findCRA and discusses how their business came about, how they provide data and info to community bankers for managing CRA efforts, and CRA modernization.
(Springfield, IL) July 9, 2020 – Today, Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI), through its business services subsidiary Community BancService Corporation, Inc (CBSC), just announced its endorsement of CRA Partners as a means to help reduce incidents of crime in area nursing homes, while offering banks the opportunity to earn CRA credit. CRA Partners is a subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
The Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation is a 501(c)(3), established in 2000 as a way for banks to earn Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit through CRA-qualified loans and investments. The structure of the SHCPF opens a segment of society to service by banks – the residents, family members and staff of nursing homes and senior HUD housing properties. Supporting low-to-moderate income Senior housing residents is an approved CRA activity designated by the federal regulatory agencies, allowing banks to receive CRA credit for supporting Foundation programs in nursing homes, HUD senior housing projects and the nation’s Veterans Nursing Homes. The focus of the SHCPF is to reduce all aspects of crime and provide ongoing, effective crime prevention programs that ensure a safe and secure environment for the residents of senior housing. In part, this is accomplished through the installation of the Senior Crime Stoppers Program.
“It’s fitting that Illinois banks be the leaders in this initiative to make a difference in the quality of life for nursing home residents, particularly in light of the economic impact the age 50+ group – the group with parents and grandparents in these facilities – has on society,” according to Shawn Davis, President, CNB Bank & Trust, N.A., and CBSC Board Chairman. “In doing so, our community bankers will demonstrate their understanding, sensitivity, and responsiveness to issues affecting this large and important group in our state. We invite and encourage all member banks to be a part of this initiative.”
“It’s a win-win proposition for everyone,” said CRA Partners CEO David Lenoir. “The banks receive a return on their investment while helping nursing home, HUD housing residents and elderly veterans live in safe, crime free environments. “
“My experience with this organization during the last several years has been wonderful. I especially enjoy our visits to the senior homes and witnessing the smiling faces of the residents.” John Eilering, President, Mount Prospect Bank, Glenview, IL (A branch of Glenview State Bank).
For more information about the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation or to enroll in the program, visit www.SHCPFoundation.org or contact Ron Brooks at the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation at (901) 500-7538.
Thanks to First Columbia Bank & Trust Co, the residents of the Emmanuel Center for Nursing & Rehab in Danville, Pennsylvania will live in a safer and even more secure environment. The bank recently joined with CRA Partners to help vulnerable seniors by funding the Senior Crimestoppers program to protect those who live and work in this local senior care facility.
CRA Partners, powered by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation, is a national organization that guarantees banks federally mandated CRA credit through the operation of the turn-key Senior Crimestoppers program providing safe and secure living environments for our nation’s low to moderate income seniors. Through flexible funding options such as CRA- qualified community development loans, investments or grants, banks provide the program in senior housing facilities, HUD communities and state Veterans homes while garnering positive public relations exposure in their communities.
Crime against the elderly in our society is a longstanding, constant battle that can be reduced and prevented through the operation of the Senior Crimestoppers program in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Senior Crimestoppers is a coordinated set of components that work together to create a zero tolerance to crime platform in senior housing facilities. Components include cash rewards up to $1,000 paid anonymously for information about wrongdoing of any kind, personal lockboxes for the residents, and effective, on-going education and training for staff members and residents. Senior Crimestoppers has reduced all aspects of crime in participating facilities by 95%.
“Senior Crimestoppers is a way for an administrator to further enhance the lives of the residents they serve. They all work very hard to provide safe, secure, comfortable living environments and their desire to implement the program is just one more example of this. Implementing this program does not mean that the facility currently has a crime problem, but that the administrator is proactively finding a way to keep problems from occurring in the future,” said Terry Rooker, president of Senior Crimestoppers.
Lance Diehl, First Columbia President & CEO, offers additional perspective, “As a bank, we know firsthand the importance of ensuring the safety of consumers’ money and valuables. The physical lockboxes will provide residents of Emmanuel with even more security, and safety will be further enhanced with the additional education and information provided to residents, their loved ones, and employees. Helping everyone learn what to be on the lookout for in terms of scams and wrongdoing is essential and can stop potential crime before it occurs.”
About First Columbia Bank & Trust Co.
First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. has been a local community bank for more than 120 years. With $738.3 million in assets as of March 31, 2020, First Columbia offers a full complement of banking and financial services to individuals and businesses throughout Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland Counties and the surrounding area. The locally owned and managed bank operates fourteen branch offices in the communities of Benton, Berwick, Bloomsburg, Buckhorn, Catawissa, Danville, Elysburg, Lightstreet, Orangeville, Millville, and Scott Township. Member FDIC
About the Senior Crimestoppers program
CRA Partners and Senior Crimestoppers are operated by the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF), headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. The SHCPF mission is to provide protection and an enhanced quality of life for vulnerable senior housing residents through meaningful turnkey CRA compliance for community focused banks. Funded exclusively by the banking industry and endorsed by the ICBA and over 30 state bankers associations, the Foundation has developed a low-risk, profitable solution — CRA Partners — for banks of all asset sizes and charter types – to fulfill their federally mandated Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) requirements in the form of qualified loans, investments or grants through the operation of the nationally acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers program. For more information about Senior Crimestoppers, visit SeniorCrimestoppers.org or call 800-529-9096.