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Public Statements

Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mrs. CAPITO. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I would first like to thank Mr. Luetkemeyer and Mr. Sherman for authoring the bill before the House today. I would also like to thank Mr. Luetkemeyer for his hard work on the Financial Institution and Consumer Credit Subcommittee, where he has championed many initiatives to provide commonsense regulatory relief for small financial institutions.

The House of Representatives has already passed one bill to remove an outdated requirement for duplicative disclosure of ATM fees on the machines--commonsense reform. I urge our colleagues in the Senate to pass both of these bills to provide this commonsense regulatory relief for banks and credit unions across the country.

I know Mr. Luetkemeyer shares my concerns that in recent years Federal financial regulatory agencies have piled on more regulations without properly assessing the current regulatory regime to remove outdated, unnecessary, or overly burdensome regulations. Last year, members of our
House Financial Services Committee urged the Treasury Secretary to make good on a promise from the summer of 2010 to take care, as the Dodd-Frank Act was implemented, to ensure that Federal agencies conducted a thorough assessment of the current regulatory structure, to ensure this opportunity to truly modernize and streamline the Federal code. We wanted to make sure this opportunity was not missed. Although Secretary Geithner claims that this streamlining is a priority, we've really seen very little progress on this front.

H.R. 5817 provides an example of how both sides can come together--and I would like to thank Mr. Sherman for his work on this as well--to identify outdated and duplicative regulatory requirements. Under current law, financial institutions are required to provide annual privacy notices to their customers that explain all of their information and practices. Financial institutions are required to mail those notices regardless of whether or not the information-sharing practices have changed. These annual mailings cost millions of dollars each year and do not provide consumers with new information if the financial institution has not changed their practice.

The legislation before us today will require a financial institution to provide annual privacy notices only if they have changed privacy policies that affect the customer. This is an important, commonsense bill that will provide further clarity to customers and consumers and eliminate an unnecessary regulatory burden for our financial institutions.

Again, I would like to thank Mr. Luetkemeyer and Mr. Sherman for their leadership on this issue, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. CAPITO. Madam Speaker, I recognize myself just simply to close to say privacy is an issue that is of concern to all of us. In these new ways of communicating that we have--and we can only imagine in our future--I think it becomes more and more difficult.

I would respond to the gentleman from California when he says that email notices--I haven't discussed it with the bill's sponsor. I wouldn't have an objection to that. However, many of us live in areas where the penetration of email is not like it is in California or Massachusetts or probably areas of Texas. There is a long way to go before that could be. Maybe next time this is debated in 10 years or whatever, that would be the norm. So I would make sure that that option for those who want to receive the paper can still do this.

Frankly, I think we're overcomplicating this issue. I think it is a commonsense revision. If we took the gentleman's 10 people that he met on the street and said, What would you think if the bank didn't mail these privacy notices to you every year, if he further questioned them and asked them how many read these point by point--and I put myself in this category--it is probably very small, as well. Not to say that it doesn't need to be publicly available. When changes are made, we have to have public notification. I agree with that.

But I do believe, serving on the Financial Services Committee, I think it's become very apparent, when you talk to institutions and when you talk to customers that the piling on of new regulations, without weeding out some of these old regulations that have either been antiquated or duplicative or repetitive or wasteful or whatever, is burdening not just the institution, it is burdening the customer, too. I'm not sure it gets the wanted understanding of what's going on to the customer that we're trying to achieve here, and I do believe it's been overcomplicated.

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