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Privacy Notice Bill Would Cut Consumer Confusion: CUNA
WASHINGTON (2/19/13)--A bill that would make significant improvements in privacy notices for consumers was just reintroduced in the House. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) introduced "The Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act."

The Credit Union National Association supports the bill, which it says would eliminate repetitive privacy notices that are often ignored by consumers. By eliminating a requirement that the notices be sent annually, and requiring them only to be sent when the privacy policy of a financial institution has changed, the notices become more meaningful for consumers, CUNA has stated.

The House unanimously passed an identical bill before the 112th Congress adjourned, but the Senate had not acted on the legislation. Therefore, the bill must be re-introduced for consideration in both chambers this year.

In a letter of support for the privacy notice change, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney noted to the bill's co-sponsors that consumers are rightfully concerned about the protection of their personal financial information, and it is important for them to understand how their financial institutions handle this information.

However, Cheney warned, under current rules, credit unions alone have sent an estimated one billion annual privacy notifications to members since 2001.

"A recent voter survey indicated that fewer than one-quarter of consumers read the privacy notifications they receive, and over three-quarters of consumers would be more likely to read them if they were only sent when the financial institution changed its policy.

"This suggests that the public policy goal of privacy notifications would be better achieved if the notices had more meaning to consumers. We believe your bill achieves this end," wrote Cheney.

Thursday,  two key pieces of legislation that would enhance the credit union charter were introduced in the House: One bill that would address the credit union member business lending cap, and another to improve credit unions' access to secondary capital. (See Friday's News Now for more on that development.)
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