Pennsylvania State Capitol. Pennsylvania State Capitol. Photo credit: Zack Frank/Shutterstock.com

Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, is set to introduce the Senior Safety Act, legislation that would provide administrative and civil liability to banks and individuals that work for banks that delay financial transactions when seniors are suspected victims of financial exploitation.

Seniors are defined as anyone 60 years old or older in the proposed amendment to Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.

If a bank or bank employee “reasonably believes” that financial exploitation has occurred, is occurring or may have been attempted they can notify the Pennsylvania Department of Aging or the Pennsylvania Banking and Securities Commission. If that bank entity or bank employee makes a disclosure of the possible exploitation in “good faith” and with “reasonable care,” they would have immunity from administrative or civil liability that may arise from the disclosure.

The entity or employee may also notify a third party previously designated by the senior citizen if a financial exploitation is suspected. Disclosure to a third party in that matter would also be provided immunity.

The proposed amendment also allows banks to delay disbursement of funds from an account if the bank reasonably believes, after initiating an internal review of the transaction, that the disbursement may result in financial exploitation of a senior citizen. In no more than two business days the bank must provide written notice and the reasoning for the delay in disbursing funds to the parties authorized to use the account, unless a party is suspected of or had attempted financial exploitation of the senior citizen account holder. The bank must also notify the state Department of Aging and the Banking and Securities Commission of the delay in providing transactions, in two business days as well.

The delay expires 15 business days after the original date of the delay or after the bank has determined the transaction would not result in financial exploitation, whichever is earlier. However, the state commission can extend the delay but no later than 25 business days after the original delay.

— Victoria Hudgins, of the Law Weekly  •