November 21 – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched an inquiry into the challenges it says consumers face in accessing, using and securely sharing their financial records. As part of the inquiry, the agency is asking the public for information about how much choice consumers are being given about the use of their records, how secure it is for them to share their records and to what extent consumers have control over their records.
The Request for Information can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/112016_cfpb_Request_for_Information_Regarding_Consumer_Access_to_Financial_Records.pdf
The CFPB said it is seeking to understand the full range of issues associated with how consumers access their financial records and how that information can be used. The bureau wants to foster an environment where competing providers can securely obtain, with the consumer’s permission, the information needed to deliver innovative products and services that will benefit consumers. Specifically, the bureau seeks information about the following issues:
— Consumers should be able to access their financial records and have the choice to use that information for their own benefit. However, the bureau has heard concerns about ways that financial institutions may make it difficult or impossible for consumers to allow others to access and use their digital financial records. Blocking access to digital financial records can prevent new companies from offering consumer-friendly innovation. It also reduces incentives for financial institutions to compete with new entrants and innovate. So the bureau is seeking information on whether consumers are being given appropriate opportunities to access and allow others to securely access their personal financial records. The bureau also wants to better understand what business burdens must be addressed to facilitate access and use of financial records.
— Consumers who allow access to their financial records need to have confidence that their financial records are secure and that they will not fall into the wrong hands. But the bureau has heard concerns from some financial institutions that providing third-party companies with access to records may compromise consumer privacy or put consumers’ funds and account relationships at risk. The CFPB’s inquiry asks about options for ensuring that financial records are securely obtained, stored, and used.
— Consumers who allow third-parties to access and use their financial records need to know and control how their records will be used by these parties. However, the CFPB has heard concerns that information and control are not uniformly provided across the market. The bureau seeks information about what information consumers are given about how their records will be accessed and used. The CFPB’s inquiry also asks to what extent consumers are able to control how the information will be used by companies to which they give permission. The CFPB wants to know if consumers can limit the frequency and purpose of the companies’ access to their records, or request deletion of the records.
The comment period for the public inquiry will end 90 days after it is officially published in the Federal Register.