Report: More banks offering favorable products for older customers

Community banks continue to offer more favorable products for older customers, according to a recent American Bankers Association Older Americans Benchmarking report. 

Sixty percent of responding banks offer favorable products for older customers, the report stated, an increase from 53 percent in 2019. Banks with less than $1 billion in assets were more likely to offer such products — no-minimum balances, no-fee checking accounts and senior savings accounts with no fees. Many banks waive fees for providing paper statements on senior accounts, as some older Americans are less likely to use online banking, according to the survey.

Bank respondents reported that those born before 1965 make up half of bank depositors and 65 percent of bank account balances.The need for banks to cater to older Americans is only likely to grow: The senior population is projected to surpass the number of children for the first time in U.S. history by 2034. Older Americans also hold nearly $35 trillion in assets, according to the Federal Reserve — 27 percent of all U.S. wealth. 

 Older Americans are also at greater risk of falling victim to financial fraud: FBI statistics reportedly show the top 10 most-reported scams targeting seniors include Social Security and IRS impersonation fraud, nuisance calls spoofing phone numbers to appear legitimate, sweepstakes, romance, computer assistance and “grandparent” scams, identity theft and elder financial exploitation by someone close to the victim. Eighty six percent of banks also provide training to customer service representatives to detect and report elder financial exploitation. Ninety three percent reported filing suspicious activity reports, flagging or closing accounts, or reporting to Adult Protective Services when cases of elder exploitation is suspected. Only one in 10 of the surveyed banks, however, reported hosting community events and outreach for financial caregivers. That points “to an area for growth, perhaps, in banks’ programs for older customers and those whom they trust to assist them in managing their finances,” the report stated. 

“America’s banks can be proud of how they are working to serve, educate and protect older customers. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks are continuing to make progress in their programs for seniors,” said ABA Foundation Executive Director Corey Carlisle.