SECU and Pisgah Legal Services partner to combat senior financial exploitation
RALEIGH, NC (March 25, 2014) — State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is enhancing efforts to combat financial fraud and exploitation of older adults through a partnership with Pisgah Legal Services (PLS), a North Carolina non-profit legal aid service. Through the partnership, PLS will share their expertise in elder law and referral protocol by providing general training and resources in preparation for the Credit Union’s initial rollout of a pilot program in late Spring. Branch personnel from SECU’s 15 branches in Western North Carolina’s six-county area of Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania will receive PLS training. The successful completion of the Western North Carolina pilot program could be the prototype for the implementation of a statewide initiative to help senior members with access to legal services.
“Pisgah Legal Services provides free civil legal aid to the disadvantaged and vulnerable, including senior citizens who are often the targets of fraud and abuse,” said PLS Executive Director Jim Barrett. “We are so grateful for the partnership with State Employees’ Credit Union that will allow us to create a program that will counter this type of exploitation. We hope that it will be replicated across the State.”
The senior fraud initiative further emphasizes the cooperative’s commitment to providing financial support services for the 60+ demographic, as well as support for NC Senate Bill 140 – the Financial Exploitation of Older Adults law signed by N.C. Governor Pat McCrory in 2013. In accordance with SB 140, SECU’s joint initiative with PLS will help older or disabled adults obtain necessary legal services. SECU has been reporting suspected financial fraud and exploitation of older adults since 2008 and is a supporter of the new law which requires that financial institutions report such abuse. Additional initiatives already in place by the Credit Union include an emergency contact service and a resource library covering topics such as health care, Social Security and potential red flags regarding abuse.
Mary Ann Rice, SECU Senior Vice President of the Asheville-Biltmore Village branch comments, “We are very excited about SECU’s partnership with Pisgah Legal Services and the opportunity to bring senior exploitation issues to the forefront in order to help eliminate financial fraud and abuse. Knowing the Credit Union and PLS are looking out for the interests of members in this 60+ demographic will be of great benefit not only to these members, but their families and communities as well.”
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for over 76 years. With nearly 1.9 million members, SECU provides services through 253 branch offices, 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, www.ncsecu.org.
About Pisgah Legal Services
Since 1978, Pisgah Legal Services has helped low-income people meet their basic needs, such as protection from domestic violence, avoiding homelessness, finding safe housing, and accessing health care and subsistence income. Pisgah Legal Services has 16 attorneys on staff, and relies heavily on the pro bono legal services of 300+ volunteer attorneys and the help of more than 50 office volunteers. The nonprofit’s main service area includes six counties in WNC, with offices in Asheville, Hendersonville, and Spindale. For more information, go to www.pisgahlegal.org.