News Release 2007-26 | March 21, 2007

Comptroller of the Currency Praises Effort to Improve Privacy Notices, Calls for Financial Industry Feedback

WASHINGTON — Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan today praised an interagency effort to improve consumer privacy notices from financial institutions and urged financial institutions and others to provide feedback on the proposed rule. His statement follows:

Today's proposed rule on consumer privacy notices marks a significant step in the interagency effort to provide disclosures that people can easily read, understand, and use.

Effective consumer-oriented privacy disclosures make it easier for people to protect themselves and compare financial service providers based on facts about how companies protect, use, and share personal information. Clear, concise, and useful disclosures also benefit financial service providers by enhancing competitiveness and helping to build consumer confidence.

The participating agencies developed the model notice and proposed rule based on consumer-focused research that tested the language and design of the form. This research-based process ensures that notices are designed to meet the needs of the people who use them – the customers of our financial service providers.

While consumer feedback showed this model privacy notice to be effective, we are now soliciting feedback from consumers, industry groups, and others on implementing this standardized notice, possible approaches for the next phase of testing, and the likelihood that institutions will use the model notice. As we move forward, we want to support consumers' need for information without overburdening the industry.

The participating agencies include the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In March 2006, the agencies published a report of their consumer research that showed consumers need a context for understanding information in financial privacy notices and presented a prototype notice that showed the required information could be presented in a simple, standard, and useful format.

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