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December 28, 2006

For More Information, Contact:
Brock Winstead at (650)688-6384


SACRAMENTO – As calendars turn to 2007 next week, California’s seniors will have one more set of eyes looking out for them.  SB 1018, a law that will protect elders by making bank, savings and loan, and credit union employees mandated reporters of elder financial abuse, will go into effect on January 1.  The bill was authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and signed into law in 2005.

SB 1018, which Senator Simitian coauthored with Assemblywoman Lois Wolk (D-Davis), requires that bank employees who suspect elder financial abuse immediately notify Adult Protective Services (APS), which investigates reports of elder abuse, or law enforcement authorities. 

“Elder financial abuse requires early notice and immediate action,” said Simitian.  “Bank employees are in the best position to report financial abuse as soon as it happens.  This bill makes sure that they are required to act on their suspicions.  It’s a simple and reasonable way to help protect our growing elderly community against this terrible crime.” 

Said Simitian, “This should put an end to the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ attitude that has left seniors unprotected for far too long.”

Bank employees will join other mandated reporters of elder abuse including health care professionals, social workers, nursing home workers, and clergy.  As with other mandated reporters, bank employees will not be liable if their suspicions prove unfounded. 

“Advanced age and accumulated assets makes seniors a tempting target,” said Simitian.  “A simple, timely phone call can help prevent the loss of a lifetime’s savings.” 

Currently, California has the largest older adult population in the nation—3.5 million people over the age of 65.  This figure is projected to increase by 172% over the next 40 years.  As California’s elder population grows, financial abuse is expected to become even more prevalent. 

Simitian’s SB 1018 garnered support from more than 90 groups of law enforcement agencies, senior organizations and county welfare officials.  The bill had met strong opposition from the California Bankers Association and the California Credit Union League, who removed their opposition following a month of negotiations with Simitian and Wolk.

“We have been ardent supporters of SB 1018 from the beginning,” said Casey Young of AARP California.  “It’s a critical measure to help stop the tide of financial abuse cases against elder and dependent adults.”   

“SB 1018 will help ensure a timely response to financial exploitation,” said Frank Mecca, executive director of County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA), a sponsor of the bill.  “The results of elder financial abuse can be devastating to those on fixed or limited incomes, both financially and to their health and well-being.” 

“We believe that the safeguards set up in SB 1018 will provide much needed protections to seniors.  The crime of financial abuse is preventable, and bank employees—who are direct observers of this kind of abuse—can help stop it in time with one simple call,” said Betty Perry, public policy director of the Older Women’s League of California. 

Simitian previously chaired the Legislature’s Select Committee on Elder Abuse.  He proposed SB 1018 after elder advocates voiced concerns about the growing problem of financial abuse at a series of public hearings.  With the passage of SB 1018, California became one of just four states to specifically require banks, savings and loans, and credit unions to report suspected elder financial abuse.

SB 1018 was passed into law in 2005 but did not take effect until January 1, 2007.  “The one year delay in implementation was designed,” said Simitian, “to give the banks time to train their staffs and put new policies and procedures in place.  My hope is that, with a year to prepare, they’ll get it right from the start.”

To learn more about SB 1018, visit