ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON AGING
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON BANKS
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
Financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly is a serious problem that occurs throughout the United States. According to a 2011 MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse, the total annual loss suffered by victimized seniors was estimated to be $2.9 billion, a 12% increase from the $2.6 billion estimate in 2008. Some of these losses were caused by seniors guaranteeing or co-signing mortgages that were disproportionately affected by the housing crash; the remaining losses were due to acts perpetrated by strangers, caregivers, family members, and friends of an elderly person.
The State of New York is working to prevent the exploitation of seniors through agencies such as the State Office for the Aging (SOFA) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). SOFA is dedicated to meeting the needs of seniors in many areas. As the hurdles facing our seniors become more complex, the agency has worked to continue to provide assistance in a changing environment. SOFA provides funding for elder abuse education and outreach programs, which help support a broad range of elder abuse services, including education about financial exploitation and information on how to recognize the signs of financial exploitation. DFS has, as one of its stated policy goals, the elimination of financial fraud and other criminal abuse and unethical conduct in the financial services industry; another of its goals is to educate and protect users of financial products and services and ensure that users are provided with timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial products and services. The Financial Frauds and Consumer Protection Division of DFS was created to protect and educate consumers of financial products and services and fight financial fraud.
This hearing will examine the initiatives supported by SOFA and DFS to determine how effective they have been at preventing financial exploitation of seniors. The Committees will welcome testimony as to how those initiatives might be strengthened, adapted, or expanded to better serve the needs of seniors across the State.
The Committees will also welcome testimony regarding the "best practices" on reporting possible financial exploitation developed by the New York Bankers Association Task Force on Financial Exploitation of the Elderly and recommendations based on the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study. In addition, testimony is sought regarding the recommendations urging the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to adopt a new set of standards and a rating system for financial certifications and designations.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committees at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.
Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes' duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.
In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.