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Public Statements

Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LUETKEMEYER. Thank you, Chairman Capito, for yielding.

I rise today in strong support of the amended version of H.R. 5817, the Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act. Under current law, all financial institutions are required to provide annual privacy notices explaining information-sharing practices to customers. Banks and credit unions are required to give these notices each year even if their privacy notice has not changed. This creates not only waste for financial institutions but confusion among and increased costs to consumers.

In his book entitled ``The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure,'' John Allison reports that one bank offered at the end of its privacy notice to pay $100 to any customer that read its notice in full. Only one customer took the bank up on that offer.

Year after year, millions of dollars are spent on privacy notices that are either disregarded by or confuse the customers. Let's think about this cost for a second. This outdated requirement doesn't cost only in postage alone, but also costs in compliance costs, cost of supplies, printing fees, and man hours.

I talked to one community bank in my district that said they spent roughly 70 cents per disclosure. With a minimum of 250,000 accounts and customers, this one bank spends $175,000 a year on this requirement. It may not seem like a lot of money to some of my colleagues, but I can tell you that $175,000 is a lot of money for a small institution like this one in my district, especially when a lot of those costs are passed on to the customer.

There is some debate over what this legislation will do. Let me be completely clear: this legislation will only remove the Gramm-Leach-Bliley annual privacy notice requirement of an institution if an institution has not, in any way, changed its privacy notice or procedures.

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This legislation does not exempt any institution from an initial privacy notice, nor does it allow a loophole for an institution to avoid issuing an updated notice.

We worked in a bipartisan fashion to amend this legislation to remove the stipulations for State-regulated financial institutions. The amended language is now identical to the legislation that passed the House by a voice

[Page: H6724]
vote in the 111th Congress. Additionally, I would like to remind my colleagues that similar language, language that was the basis for the first version of legislation, passed in both the 109th Congress and the 110th Congress.
This language is not controversial, it does not jeopardize consumer privacy, and it does not exempt an institution from having to produce an initial or amended privacy notice. This legislation does eliminate millions of costly, confusing, and often ignored mailings. And, with the passage of this bill, the information included in these mailings would likely become more significant to the consumer because it would come only after a change in the privacy policy.

This legislation is supported by the Independent Community Bankers of America, the Credit Union National Association, the American Bankers Association, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, and the Consumer Bankers Association, among others.

I'd like to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman) for his work on this bill. I would also like to thank Chairman Bachus, Ranking Member Frank, Chairman Capito, and Ranking Member Maloney for their work with us toward swift passage of this legislation.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues for their support.

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