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Age-Friendly Banking
posted 05.31.2016

By Karen Kali

This May we are honoring Older Americans as part of the Administration on Community Living’s annual Older Americans Month celebration. In the spirit of sharing our initiatives and ideas that are positively affecting older adults, I’m excited to focus on a special initiative of NCRC’s National Neighbors Silver, which focuses efforts on working with banks and financial institutions to implement Age-Friendly Banking.

Age-Friendly Banking is a set of recommendations NCRC developed for federal, state, and industry stakeholders to improve the financial system’s accessibility, responsiveness, and safety for older adults. These recommendations are centered around six core objectives and were developed with extensive consultation from and research with aging experts, community leaders, regulators, economists and bankers. The objectives are:

  1. Protect older adults from financial abuse.
  2. Customize financial products and services to address older adults’ needs.
  3. Expand affordable financial management for older adults.
  4. Ensure older adult access to critical income supports.
  5. Facilitate aging in the community.
  6. Improve accessibility to bank branch locations and services.

Working with our locally based community partners across the country, but specifically in California, Illinois, Ohio, Philadelphia and Baltimore to name a few, National Neighbors Silver spent 2015 expanding our Age-Friendly Banking work with funds from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. In 2015, we were able to impact the lives of nearly 4,000 older adults, a majority of which are low income older adults. Each of the community-based partners worked with local financial institutions to coordinate and deliver financial services, products, and protections for older adults to improve their financial well-being. Direct services such as housing counseling, credit counseling, financial planning, retirement planning, financial literacy, financial coaching, and even a Senior Ambassador program in branches to facilitate banking are some examples of the activities and initiatives National Neighbors Silver partners conducted.

In Maryland, nearly 400 LMI older adults were paired with services and Baltimore partner, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, co-hosted a special forum with the Federal Reserve Board of Richmond along with NCRC.  ESOP (Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People) in Cleveland created a Tax Delinquency Loan Program aimed at helping low- to moderate-income older adults avoid foreclosure. Cedar Village in Ohio partnered with Fifth Third Bank and used the bank’s Empower U curriculum with areas such as credit score management, identify theft protection, estate planning, and refinancing a home. California Coalition for Rural Housing created a Benefits Check Up Campaign in partnership with NCOA.

As we look toward increasing locally based Age-Friendly Banking initiatives, National Neighbors Silver looks forward to working with you in your community to enhance the economic security of vulnerable older adults.

About NCRC’s National Neighbors Silver

National Neighbors Silver, a special initiative of NCRC, is a multi-year campaign to empower, organize, and support older adults. Working with the banking industry, federal and state policymakers, aging networks, community partners, and housing experts, National Neighbors Silver offers a platform for policy and program solutions to build economic security and preserve wealth for older Americans.

NCRC recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and National Neighbors Silver, it’s 5th anniversary.

Karen Kali is the Program Manager of NCRC’s National Neighbors Silver and a graduate of the 2016 ASA Leadership Institute

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