True Link CEO Testifies Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging
Recently, True Link’s Co-Founder and CEO, Kai Stinchcombe, was invited to share testimony with the United States Senate Committee on Aging during their March 17 hearing “Unbanked and Credit Invisible: Building Financial Inclusion for America’s Underserved Populations.” It was a great honor for our company to be included and to be given the opportunity to publicly highlight the work True Link has been doing since 2012 to support a population of Americans who are too often underserved or ignored by the financial industry. We are proud to have been acknowledged for our work by the Committee and relished the opportunity to speak on behalf of our clients and those we serve — not only to showcase the work being done, but to shine a light on how much more there is still to do.
Over the years, True Link has had an ongoing dialogue with various government bodies — the President's Council on Aging, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, State Securities Authorities, Social Security Administration, and state financial protection programs — about how to improve the way underserved populations and their caregivers are treated by the financial industry. After this recent meeting with the Senate Committee on Aging, we’re more encouraged than ever about the sophistication with which Congress is approaching this topic and their ability to do impactful, collaborative work outside of the spotlight.
A key point of Kai’s testimony focused on how True Link was initially introduced for those with memory loss but has grown quickly to find applications in special needs, mental health, addiction recovery, and other forms of disability. In fact, True Link was born out of the profound desire to make life better for our own loved ones, and we’re honored to now be able to serve all people with complex needs — and their families and professional caregivers — day in and day out.
Reflecting on the almost 10 years since the company was founded, True Link has come to better understand the size and scope of the problem we are addressing, and the opportunity available to continue helping improve people’s lives by addressing it.
Kai shared with the committee what he sees as key ingredients for success as we move toward an America in which supported decision-making is available through the banking system for all who need it:
Widespread acceptance of supported decision-making as a concept — rather than the current binary of needing zero help versus having zero autonomy. This is not a new concept, but we believe it's gathering steam.
Knowledge of the private sector opportunity size. We believe that we are seeing a greater awareness of memory loss in the aging population. The awareness of the scale of other forms of disability may be growing more slowly, but we are confident it will arrive, and those supporting those individuals will thank themselves for being forward-thinking.
Enable good behavior and root out bad. There should be more thought around how to properly balance enabling and supporting good behavior while at the same time preventing bad behavior in caregiving and guardianship. The hope is that with more emphasis put on rewarding the good, those considering working with, supporting, or serving as a financial caregiver can feel they are a part of a system that empowers and recognizes them instead of one that is overshadowed by the threat of punishment.
Permission — and attention — from policymakers and regulators. Financial institutions are often, correctly or incorrectly, highly motivated by fear of regulatory repercussions. Policymakers and regulators have taken some steps to indicate that they will not punish financial institutions that are in good faith, and with due care, trying to broaden inclusion in the financial system. We need more of this, especially around the ability to trust a caregiver or supporter.
Leadership from within the financial system. Everyone wakes up in the morning and goes to work with a choice about what they are going to focus on and, in doing so, who they are going to include and who they are going to exclude. There’s the opportunity for leaders across the financial system to shine a light on this within their own institutions and help create the change we all seek.
We hope this recent conversation amongst leaders not only contributes to an encouraging policy environment but also inspires each of us and those we touch to broaden the scope of the United States financial system.
Hear more from Kai by viewing his complete testimony here.
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