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The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

The Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act” or GLB Act, includes provisions to protect consumers’ personal financial information held by financial institutions. There are three principal parts to the privacy requirements: 1) The Financial Privacy Rule, 2) The Safeguards Rule and 3) Pretexting Provisions.

The GLB Act gives authority to eight federal agencies and the states to administer and enforce the Financial Privacy Rule and the Safeguards Rule. These two regulations apply to “financial institutions,” which include not only banks, securities firms, and insurance companies, but also companies providing many other types of financial products and services to consumers. Among these services are lending, brokering or servicing any type of consumer loan, transferring or safeguarding money, preparing individual tax returns, providing financial advice or credit counseling, providing residential real estate settlement services, collecting consumer debts and an array of other activities. Such non-traditional “financial institutions” are regulated by the FTC.

The Financial Privacy Rule governs the collection and disclosure of customers’ personal financial information by financial institutions. It also applies to companies, whether or not they are financial institutions, who receive such information. For a summary overview of the Financial Privacy Rule, see In Brief: The Financial Privacy Requirements of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Click here...

The Pretext Provision prevents "pretexting," the use of false pretenses, including fraudulent statements and impersonation, to obtain consumers’ personal financial information, such as bank balances. This law also prohibits the knowing solicitation of others to engage in pretexting. The Commission has been active in bringing cases to halt the operations of companies and individuals that allegedly practice pretexting and sell consumers’ financial information.

The Safeguards Rule requires all financial institutions to design, implement and maintain safeguards to protect customer information. The Safeguards Rule applies not only to financial institutions that collect information from their own customers, but also to financial institutions – such as credit reporting agencies – that receive customer information from other financial institutions.

As a result of the Safeguards Rule it is extremely important that financial institutions develop data backup policies. Online data backup can help your organization meet Gramm-Leach-Bliley requirements.

The GLB Act applies to, but is not limited to, the following services:

  • Lending
  • Brokering or servicing any type of consumer loan
  • Transferring or safeguarding money
  • Preparing individual tax returns
  • Providing financial advice or credit counseling
  • Providing residential real estate settlement services
  • Collecting consumer debts and an array of other activities

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