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Insights and Promising Practices


With two-thirds of all deposits controlled by the 50+, smart and savvy financial institutions are looking for new and meaningful ways to meet the needs of this important demographic. AARP has interviewed thousands of experts and published impactful research that is informing new services and approaches to working with consumers over the age of 50. These highlights from AARP’s research and interviews showcase the most important findings the financial industry should know. 




How the 50+ bank

AARP’s research shows that 50+ consumers have clear preferences on their banking practices.

  • The 50+ own 67% of deposits in the U.S.
  • 50% have been with their financial institution for 20+ years
  • 4 out of 5 still conduct business at a branch, and more than half also bank online
  • 70% say that branch employees recognize them and nearly 1 in 3 work with a banker they know
  • Majority use a range of services including direct deposit (83%), debit card (68%) and ATM (64%)
The benefits of addressing Financial Exploitation

Financial exploitation presents a significant threat to older Americans, their families and financial institutions. Addressing exploitation and preventing it provides benefits to institutions and consumers alike. 

  • The average victim of exploitation loses $120,000 (almost what the average 50+ household has in savings).
  • Financial institutions lose $1 billion in deposits a year as a result of exploitation.
  • 4 in 5 consumers prefer having accounts with institutions that proactively fight exploitation.
  • Trust increases 41% when their institution resolves an exploitation situation.    


Accessibility - Tools and Resources

Adjustments to the banking environment support consumer needs and preferences.

  • Prepaid cards and wearable bands loaded with limited funds
  • High-visibility debit cards with color contrast and enlarged fonts
  • Signature cards that don’t require long passwords
  • Biometric fingerprinting to protect cards and remove the need to remember a PIN
  • Improved processes for powers of attorney

Two banks in the United Kingdom, Lloyds and Barclays, received praise from their customers for providing additional time for transactions, verbally repeating statements for those with dementia, and offering to meet in a quiet place.

The most successful BankSafe-trained financial institutions, including HSBC and Wells Fargo Advisors, train all their employees starting from the top—the CEO, vice presidents, C-level executives, and compliance and risk officers. With established prevention programs, these financial institutions help protect their customers from becoming victims of exploitation and help staff recognize situations that need to be reported to Adult Protective Services.    

After taking steps to improve accessibility, London-based Lloyds Banking Group saw a 60% reduction in complaints related to clients with dementia and their caregivers—and these steps earned over 18.3 million media impressions worth almost $1 million.


Training and Resources - save money graphic

Effective training and resources arm employees with the skills to take action and appropriately engage in order to save consumers– and financial industry organizations – money. The financial industry is taking action to create a culture that supports fighting exploitation:

  • Financial exploitation training
  • Consumer-interaction and senior-sensitivity training
  • Branch champions drive age-friendly and dementia-friendly principles from institution-wide guidelines
  • Employee incentives for reporting exploitation
  • Centralized place for employees to report
Account features graphic

Banks, credit unions and investment firms are innovating a number of promising new services and processes to flag cases for immediate action that can prevent exploitation before money leaves the account.

  • Data analytics to identify consumers at risk
  • Read-only feature that allows trusted loved ones to track account movements without giving access to funds
  • Preventing the sale of inappropriate products to those with dementia
  • Consumer needs and preferences form
Empower Consumers and the Community graphic

Community and consumer education initiatives empower individuals to protect their assets and grow a network of stakeholders committed to fighting exploitation.

  • Educate older consumers about online banking
  • Community speaker series on preventing exploitation
  • First responder training
  • Free resource books and guides for older residents and their caregivers

Two small community banks in Pennsylvania and Texas who trained frontline employees on preventing exploitation saved $1 million in deposits in the first year after the training.

Using data analytics, Barclays was able to identify 20,000 of its 15 million accounts as high risk for exploitation and is proactively helping these customers protect their assets.    

Utah’s Bank of American Fork conducted outreach that generated 1 million media impressions in a state with just 3 million people    

BankSafe Resource Library

The training includes a library of resources that banks, credit unions and investment firms can use to help better prepare their staff and institution to protect consumers from exploitation. AARP has made these resources available below so that you can put some of the tips and promising practices from the training to work at your institution now.

Skill tools graphic

Resources for Employees                      

Frontline employees are often in the best position to recognize and prevent financial exploitation. The BankSafe training is aimed at empowering these individuals to identify signs of exploitation, interact with consumers and take action when needed.

Cash, bitcoin, credit card and computer

Resources for Consumers        

Financial industry organizations that empower not only employees but also consumers to prevent exploitation help to further protect deposits and gain client trust.