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Jilenne Gunther, MSW, JD

Senior Strategic Policy Advisor

Areas of Expertise

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

Profile

Armed with a passion for social work and her trade as an attorney, Jilenne Gunther is on a mission to solve policy problems and implement solutions in a meaningful and impactful way.  As the Director of AARP’s BankSafe Initiative at the Public Policy Institute, Jilenne Gunther works on policy solutions to curb financial exploitation and implement BankSafe principles across the country. 
 
Prior to PPI, she served at the state level where she was the director of elder justice increasing funds by 487%.  Seeing the need to fight exploitation she worked with banks to institute age-friendly practices and created one of the first banking features to help family caregivers prevent exploitation.  She wrote a pioneering analysis of the economic cost of elder financial exploitation as well as two books for seniors on fraud and financial rights (Navigating Your Rights: The National Legal Guide for Those 50 and Over and the Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over.  Jilenne has a reputation from taking projects from beginning of research to implementation.
 
Ms. Gunther is a well-recognized policy expert in BankSafe, financial exploitation, and consumer rights.  Her groundbreaking policy and research has been replicated in over forty states, and it has been cited in Senate hearings, CFPB advisories, GAO reports, Forbes, and Consumer Reports.  As a result, Jilenne has received over 15 awards for her work including the Utah State’s Woman of the Year Achievement Award.  

In Her Words

“Financial exploitation is an ugly reality. Some are being exploited to such a degree they are now eligible for Medicaid. We’re not talking about pennies here. These are people’s life savings. At the end of your life to have this happen is the ultimate crime of betrayal.”

Selected Publications

J. Gunther, Navigating Your Rights: The National Legal Guide for Those 50 and Over. Washington, DC: Sheridan. 2014

J. Gunther, Navigating Your Rights: The Utah Legal Guide for Those 55 and Over, Salt Lake City, UT: Utah State Publications, 2011.

J. Gunther, “The 2011 Utah Economic Cost of Elder Financial Exploitation,” Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services, Salt Lake City, 2011

J. Gunther, “The 2010 Utah Cost of Financial Exploitation,” Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services, Salt Lake City, 2010.

J. Gunther, “The Legal Needs of Utah Seniors,” State of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2011.

Contact

jgunther@aarp.org

202-434-3869

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@JG_101