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Banks and credit unions could have more tools to protect vulnerable adults

More vulnerable adults could be protected from financial exploitation with additional tools for banks and credit unions included in a bill passed 126-8 by the House Wednesday.

Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth) and Sen. Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point) sponsor HF2475/SF2466*, which would hold financial services providers – as well as broker-dealers and investment advisers – responsible for reporting when they believe that financial exploitation may have occurred or been attempted.

It passed 66-0 by the Senate May 4, and now goes to Gov. Tim Walz.

The bill also would provide financial services providers and their employees with the protections needed to safely make good faith third-party disclosures, testify about alleged financial exploitation, delay a disbursement, or hold transactions.

This would enable financial service providers to take action on suspicious transactions if requested to do so by law enforcement or prosecutors, in response to an internal review, or when other conditions have been met.

Accounts wouldn’t be put on hold – only specific transactions – for 15 days or until the financial institution could establish the “reasonable belief it won’t result in exploitation,” Schultz said.

“Having been in the community banking business for a long time … especially in smaller banks, when we know people. … To have this flexibility in this law … makes a big difference,” said Rep. Bob Vogel (R-Elko New Market).

Rep. Jeremy Munson (R-Lake Crystal) doesn’t think the bill is necessary, given other industry reforms. It also lacks a “carve out” for institutions that already have policies and procedures in place allowing for third parties to be contacted to confirm certain transactions, he said.

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