Joint Trades letter to Chair Hensarling and Ranking Member Waters re the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act

 

March 23, 2015

 

The Honorable Jeb Hensarling, Chairman

The Honorable Maxine Waters, Ranking Member

Committee on Financial Services

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC  20515

 

Dear Chairman Hensarling and Ranking Member Waters:

 

The undersigned trade associations support H.R. 601, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act, authored by Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer and cosponsored by 51 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives.  We urge members of the Committee to work together to send this important legislation to the full House and eventually to the President for his signature.

 

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act for the first time created an explicit privacy regime for those covered by the law.  A key element of this regime is the requirement to provide customers copies of privacy notices every year, even if privacy policies do not change.  These notices have become somewhat notorious for confusing customers with several pages of small-print legalese, as mandated by financial regulators.  

 

There is broad agreement that repeatedly flooding consumers with complicated notices, usually restating a policy that has not changed in years, has little value for either customers or financial institutions.  In fact, customers have become so inured to the notices that they are largely discarded unread immediately upon receipt.

 

H.R. 601 would greatly improve this regime by ensuring that customers have access to privacy policies including a paper notice if they choose to receive one.  However, institutions will no longer be required to mail an annual paper notice so long as their policy is unchanged and the notice is available online and upon request, savings millions of pounds of paper every year.

 

This legislation is a common-sense improvement that will help consumers.  Having unanimously passed the House in previous Congresses, the bill has consistent broad bipartisan support.  We appreciate your efforts on this issue and look forward to working with you and your colleagues to better serve consumers.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

American Bankers Association

American Financial Services Association

Consumer Bankers Association

Credit Union National Association

Financial Services Roundtable

Independent Community Bankers of America

Midsize Bank Coalition of America

Mortgage Bankers Association

National Association of Federal Credit Unions