An October 2014 paper—2014 ICBA American Millennials and Banking Study—details surprising findings from a nationwide study by the Independent Community Bankers of America® and The Center for Generational Kinetics LLC. The survey results indicate, among other things, that as a group, Millennials are driven by entrepreneurial ambitions and eager for financial education.
The paper, which is accessible online to ICBA members, summarizes the study results. Further, it lays out strategies and action steps for community banks seeking to engage and serve Millennials. To download the paper, visit the Press Room at icba.org. Log in and click on News Releases. (The study was released October 15, 2014.)
As the older population in the U.S. continues to grow, so too have attempts to prey on the elderly. Efforts to inform the public of this reality as well as the tactics commonly used by would-be predators have been stepped up in recent years.
Many state and local government agencies have joined forces with nonprofit and advocacy groups to prevent financial crimes and assist victims. In addition, some states have enacted laws requiring people in designated professions to report suspected abuse or neglect of elders. Those mandates vary significantly from state to state.
Community bankers, in their role as trusted financial advisors, would be well-advised to determine whether any reporting requirements that pertain to them. Even if no requirements apply, you could proactively identify many effective no-cost sources of information that could someday prove helpful to your employees and your customers.
A good place to start is your state attorney general’s website or your local district attorney’s office. The National Center on Elder Abuse Administration on Aging website contains an interactive map that provides centralized access to state-specific catalogs on the prevention of elder abuse.
Elsewhere on the same site is a library of publications on many subtopics relating to the senior population—including financial abuse and durable power of attorney. There’s even an index of podcasts and webinars.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website enables the downloading of easy-to-read printable booklets for people entrusted with managing others’ money. If you’d like to keep a supply of any of these “financial caregiver” booklets on hand at the bank, you can use a link on the same page to order free print copies.
Defend your bank against hackers: Verify your originators
A number of banks are reporting that their customers’ emails have been hacked. Hacking can trigger a chain of events aimed at defrauding financial institutions. The most effective precaution your bank can take is to completely and consistently follow best practices. The following story illustrates why.
Bank XYZ receives an email that appears to be from its good customer. The email instructs the bank to wire funds to a beneficiary in a foreign country. An employee at Bank XYZ, relying on the email alone for authorization, wires the funds according to the instructions in the email.
What went wrong in this example? The good customer’s email had been hacked. The emailed wire request was sent by a fraudster in a distant country, and the funds are long gone by now.
And because the employee at Bank XYZ failed to call the customer to confirm the originator’s identity, it’s Bank XYZ that suffered the loss.
Unfortunately, U.S. financial institutions have incurred large financial losses as a result of this type of fraud. We urge you stress the importance of always making a call-back to your customer to verify any faxed or emailed wire transfer request before releasing payment. Whether your bank uses passwords or PINs to verify the identity of customers, following this step without exception will help safeguard both your customer and your bank.