Financial Privacy

On May 6, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) proposed a rule to modify the notice provisions of Regulation P, which implements the financial privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”).

Regulation P requires financial institutions to deliver an annual privacy notice to customers, which is often accomplished through a direct mailing to the customer.  The proposed rule would allow a financial institution to meet this annual privacy notice delivery requirement, in certain circumstances, by continuously posting the privacy notice on its website in a clear and conspicuous manner (described as the “proposed alternative delivery method” in the proposed rule), and providing the customer with a clear and conspicuous annual disclosure that (i) the privacy notice has not changed, (ii) the notice is available on the institution’s website, and (iii) the customer may request a mailed copy of the notice by calling a toll-free number.Continue Reading CFPB Proposes Revised Financial Privacy Rule

In January 2014, a massive data leak of some 104 million credit card accounts shocked South Korea.  The number of affected accounts was twice the number of the population of South Korea’s.  The incident arose when a temporary employee of a personal credit rating agency that manages personal financial data of customers of three major credit card companies allegedly copied personal credit details of millions of people on his portable disk drive and subsequently sold the information to loan marketers and brokers.

On March 10, 2014, the Korean Government announced plans to prevent a recurrence of a large-scale security breach in the financial sector (the “Plan”) (available in Korean here). The Plan contains a number of elements that may be modeled on the EU’s proposed General Data Protection Regulation, such as turnover-based sanctions, limitations on data transfers and data retention and a reinforcement of individuals’ rights.  Some of the proposed measures are supposed to be implemented by amending existing relevant laws. Members of the National Assembly have already tabled legislative proposals for a number of amendments that reflect the Plan at a parliamentary committee meeting on February 24, 2014; however, it is at present unclear when they will be discussed and adopted by the Parliament. By contrast, other measures that do not require legislative changes are likely to be implemented as quickly as possible.

If adopted, the legislative proposals will have a significant impact in particular on financial institutions that handle a large amount of Korean customers’ personal information — such as banks, credit card companies and personal credit rating agencies. However, companies in other sectors are not off the hook, as the Government has indicated the possibility of a comprehensive inquiry to improve general personal information protection beyond the financial sector in the near future.Continue Reading Is Korea Moving Towards EU-Style Legislation for Financial Institutions?

Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) agreed to review the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) collection and analysis of consumer credit records in response to a request from Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID).  In a letter to the GAO Comptroller General, Sen. Crapo requested that the GAO investigate “CFPB’s data collection to determine its purpose

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published in the Federal Register a joint rule requiring entities regulated by the agencies to adopt programs to detect and prevent identity theft.  The rule is referred to as the “red flags rule” and applies to certain broker-dealers, mutual funds, investment advisers, futures

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 749, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act.  The bill is sponsored by Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer (R-MO) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA).  An earlier version of the bill passed the House in December but was never taken up by the Senate.  We previously covered similar legislation

This week, the Federal Trade Commission released a study of the U.S. credit reporting industry and credit report accuracy.  The study found that five percent of consumers had errors on one of their three nationwide credit reports that could lead them to pay more for financial products.  The study is required under section 319 of

On January 22, 2013, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council proposed guidance on the applicability of consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies to activities conducted via social media by depository institutions.  The proposed guidance would not impose additional compliance obligations on institutions.  Instead, the guidance is intended to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance, legal, reputation, and operational risks associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks. 

The proposed guidance defines “social media” as “a form of interactive online communication in which users can generate and share content through text, images, audio, and/or video.”  The FFIEC warns that social media can impact a depository institution’s risk profile by increasing the risk of harm to consumers, compliance and legal risk, operational risk, and reputational risk. 

Continue Reading FFIEC Proposes Social Media Guidance

On Friday, November 30, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an Interim Final Rule to amend its Red Flags Rule, which requires certain financial institutions and creditors to establish programs to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft in connection with consumer accounts.  The Interim Final Rule narrows the definition of “creditor” in response to legislation

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the federal government does not always lose its sovereign immunity to damages lawsuits claiming that an agency violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) by printing the expiration date of a credit card on a receipt issued to a consumer. In a unanimous decision, authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court rejected a November 2010 ruling by the Federal Circuit that the Little Tucker Act authorized the government to be sued for money damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), which FACTA amended.  

James Bormes, a Chicago lawyer, paid a $350 court filing fee through the federal government’s pay.gov system with his American Express card. He was sent an electronic receipt for the transaction, which contained his credit card’s expiration date. Bormes alleged that this violated FACTA’s prohibition on printing expiration dates on credit card receipts issued at the point of sale.  He sued the government, seeking class-action status on behalf of thousands of people issued receipts that displayed card expiration dates or more than the last five digits of credit and debit card numbers (which FACTA also prohibits).

The district court initially dismissed the suit, finding that the FCRA does not contain an explicit waiver of the government’s sovereign immunity and could, therefore, not allow for the plaintiff’s damages claims. Bormes appealed to the Federal Circuit, which has exclusive jurisdiction for appeals in which a lower court’s jurisdiction was based partly on the Little Tucker Act. The government moved to transfer the suit to the Seventh Circuit, arguing that the Act’s jurisdictional provision did not apply. The Federal Circuit denied the motion and vacated the lower court’s ruling. The federal government then took the sovereign immunity issue to the Supreme Court.Continue Reading Government May be Immune to Suits Alleging Violations of FACTA

On October 26, 2012, the FTC finalized settlements with Georgia auto dealer Franklin Budget Car Sales, Inc. and Utah-based debt collector EPN Inc. over charges that each company illegally exposed sensitive personal information of consumers by allowing peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software to be installed on their corporate computer systems.  The final settlements follow a notice-and-comment period opened to the public in June 2012.Continue Reading FTC Finalizes Settlements with Companies for Exposing Sensitive Consumer Information through Installation of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software