AG Rowe wants banks to protect seniors

John O'Brien Mar. 28, 2007, 3:00pm

AUGUSTA - Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe will hold a public hearing next week concerning new legislation that he is proposing.

Along with Rep. John Brautigam, D-Falmouth, Rowe is introducing a bill that would allow bank employees to contact the proper authorities if they feel the account of a senior citizen is being taken advantage of.

Rowe says the problem of seniors becoming the targets of financial exploitation is increasing because they have liquid assets and good credit.

"If a banker has a customer who comes in by themselves every week for years to withdraw $250, then starts showing up with an unknown person and withdrawing $10,000 a week, this bill would allow that banker to disclose financial information to authorities without fear of civil or criminal liability," Brautigan said.

Employees of banks and credit unions would alert the Department of Health and Human Services in such a case.

The bill is also supported by the American Association of Retired Persons, the Maine Association of Community Banks, the Maine Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League and the DHHS.

"The efforts of the groups involved will go a long way toward making Maine a safer place for seniors," Rowe said.

The public hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday by the Insurance and Financial Services Committee in Room 427 of the State House.

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