Setting the Record Straight on Retailer Data Breaches

February 5, 2014

Joint Trades’ Memos to Congress Advocates for Retailer Accountability

Washington, D.C. (February 5, 2014) – The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) has teamed up with fellow financial services trade associations to set the record straight on the recent retailer data breaches. In memos to the House and Senate the industry associations wrote: “Target and Neiman Marcus have testified before the House and Senate about their breaches and, to their credit, have accepted their share of the responsibility….Unfortunately, others in the retail industry have not taken this approach. They have made, and continue to make, several misleading and counterproductive statements about the breaches and the position of banks and credit unions across the country.”

CBA and fellow trades are pointing to several facts retailers continue to gloss over, including:

  • According to the much respected Identity Theft Resource Center, 77 percent of breaches in 2013 occurred at healthcare facilities and businesses, including retailers. That’s compared to just 4 percent at financial institutions. Unlike studies cited by retail groups, these are actual breaches in the United States and not merely reports on “incidents."
  • The recent breaches all involve intrusions into the computer networks of various companies. These compromises have nothing to do with card technology (e.g., “Chip and PIN”) and everything to do with holes in internal firewalls at these companies that criminals are exploiting.
  • It is the nation’s banks and credit unions that initially make consumers whole, often receiving minimal reimbursement for their efforts.

“Certain retail groups cannot be allowed to divert attention and duck their responsibility for protecting the sensitive personal information of consumers by always claiming that ‘it’s someone else’s fault.’ In fact, it is all of our responsibility to fight an elusive criminal element,” added CBA and fellow trade associations.

The memos were signed by: the American Bankers Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, the Independent Community Bankers of America and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

About CBA

The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the trade association for today's leaders in retail banking - banking services geared toward consumers and small businesses. The nation's largest financial institutions, as well as many regional banks, are CBA corporate members, collectively holding two-thirds of the industry's total assets. CBA’s mission is to preserve and promote the retail banking industry as it strives to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business.