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Bank of American Fork honored for work with seniors

Published January 17, 2014 10:48 am

Award • Financial institution offers many products, services that protect elderly from fraud.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Bank of American Fork recently received a first-ever award from the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services for creating a culture, products and services that protect seniors.

"Bank of American Fork is blazing a trail in Utah and throughout the nation as a leader in creating an age-friendly culture," said Jilenne Gunther, legal services developer for the division, who has been recruited by AARP to help it implement age-friendly banking practices on a national level. "The products the bank has designed for seniors help prevent financial exploitation and create an environment where they can come and receive top-notch customer service. In doing so, Bank of American Fork continues to stand by its commitment to serve the most vulnerable members of our community."

The Bank of American Fork was established in 1913 and is part of the People's Utah Bancorp group. People's group of banks has 18 locations from Cache Valley to St. George and more than $1.3 billion in assets.

According to Bank of American Fork's Christopher Liechty, the financial institution includes a number of services for seniors. These include:

• AccountSmart tools developed for seniors to help caregivers create checks and balances to protect seniors from financial abuse.

• Products designed to be senior-friendly, including a new iPad app that uses intuitive design and large type.

• Sponsorship of a senior crime-stopper program at two Utah nursing homes.

• Providing in-home and nursing home services to seniors such as assistance with online banking and notary services.

• Providing public information and seminars for seniors and caregivers.

• Staff training to recognize signs of elder financial abuse and how to report it, how to help families structure their banking to create checks and balances, and a call enter staff trained on assistive listening technologies.

"The division is so pleased at the foresight Bank of American Fork has shown in serving seniors," said Nels Holmgren, director of the Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services. "The products the bank offers provide such peace of mind for both seniors, as well as the family members who care for them. Our office can do a lot to protect seniors, but there are limits to things that government can and should do."

Bank of American Fork CEO Richard Beard said that he has seen more than one heartbreaking example of seniors who have suffered financial devastation at the hands of both strangers and those closest to them.

"We deeply value the relationship with the state, and will continue to work closely with them to provide products and expertise that safeguard seniors, and offer caregivers tools to help protect their loved ones."

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton