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House Helps Consumers Cope with Voluminous Privacy Notices
Friday, December 15, 2017 6:45 AM

The House of Representatives passed an important bipartisan piece of legislation from the Financial Services Committee on Thursday that would cut outdated Washington regulations.

Sponsored by Rep. David Trott (R-Mich.), the Privacy Notification and Technical Clarification Act (H.R. 2396) would reduce confusion among consumers when they receive annual privacy notices from their financial institutions. Under the measure, financial institutions would not be required to send in the mail written versions of their annual privacy policies if they post those policies on the Internet and notify consumers on their monthly billing statement. Consumers would still receive written notifications if the privacy policy has changed.

Trott said this critical legislation addresses the current avalanche of confusing notices consumers receive in the mail by modernizing the privacy notification process and improving transparency and accountability. It will also cut down on the high compliance costs credit unions are forced to pass along to consumers, while increasing consumer access to important privacy information.

 “The bill simply says if a financial institution does not change their privacy notification, they don’t have to send out a paper notification that creates more costs that gets passed on to the customer that nobody reads in the first place,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).  “We must vigilantly ensure that our constituents are receiving effective disclosure—not just voluminous disclosure, but effective disclosure—of material items written in clear, understandable, common language. No voluminous disclosure of irrelevant items written in legalese and fine print.”

H.R. 2396 was previously approved by the Financial Services Committee with a bipartisan vote of 40-20. It passed the House 275-146.