New privacy notice bill introduced with CUNA support

January 28, 2015

WASHINGTON (1/29/15)--A bill that would change annual privacy notice requirements for certain financial institutions was introduced Wednesday by Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). The bill is titled the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act (H.R. 601).

The bill would amend the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to exempt from its annual privacy notice requirement any financial institution that:

  • Provides nonpublic personal information only in accordance with specified requirements; and

  • Has not changed its policies and practices with regard to disclosing nonpublic personal information from those disclosed in the most recent disclosure sent to consumers.

The Credit Union National Association wrote to Luetkemeyer and Sherman Wednesday to express its support of the bill.

"The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act will make privacy notices sent to consumers by financial institutions more meaningful by eliminating the requirement that the notices be sent annually, and requiring them only to be sent when the privacy policy of the financial institution has changed," reads the letter, signed by CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. "In addition to enhancing the value of these privacy notifications for consumers, your legislation also reduces regulatory burden for credit unions and other financial institutions."

CUNA estimates that since 2001, credit unions have sent more than 1 billion annual privacy notices to members.

A voter survey has indicated that less than 25% of consumers reads the privacy notifications they receive. The same survey showed that more than 75% would be more likely to read such a notice if it was only sent when a financial institution changed its policy.

According to CUNA, "this suggests that the public policy goal of privacy notification would be better achieved if the notices had more meaning to consumers." CUNA believes the proposed bill achieves that goal.

The bill previously passed the House by voice vote in the 112th and 113th Congress. During the 113th Congress the bill had 76 co-sponsors in the Senate.