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Jilenne Gunther, MSW, JD

Senior Strategic Policy Advisor


BankSafe, financial exploitation, fraud, consumer law, banking, elder law


Armed with a passion for social work and nearly two decades of experience in public policy and elder law, Jilenne Gunther is on a mission to solve policy problems and implement solutions to protect the finances of older Americans and their families.  As the national director of AARP’s BankSafe Initiative, Jilenne is following in the footsteps of a three-generation banking family. She is leveraging her expertise to focus on the intersection between financial exploitation, dementia, caregiving and the accessibility of the banking environment for older adults. Core to that effort is her work leading the development of a game-changing financial exploitation prevention training program that is empowering the frontlines of financial institutions nationwide to curb exploitation.

She’s spent the last 15 years developing programs and conducting groundbreaking research that have advanced financial exploitation prevention across the country, including the creation of the nation’s first banking account feature to help family and caregivers prevent exploitation.

Her efforts in creating and building programs from the ground up have protected more than five million older adults across the nation from financial exploitation. In addition, her pioneering work in identifying legal needs to better target services to consumers in Utah resulted in nearly five times the amount of legal service funds and in-kind donations being made in the state. Inspired by her success, more than 40 states have implemented programs replicating her work.

Jilenne has authored two books on consumer rights and elder law, and has written a pioneering analysis on the economic cost of financial exploitation. Her work has been cited in Senate hearings, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advisories and U.S. Government Accountability Office reports, and she has been widely quoted in Forbes, Money Magazine, The Associated Press, American Banker and other media outlets. As a result of her commitment to making a difference in the lives of older adults, Jilenne has received 15 awards and counting, including the State of Utah’s Woman of the Year Achievement Award.  She holds a Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Utah.


Read Jilenne Gunther's blog posts.  


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