|March 31, 2000
Federal Trade Commission
Re: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Rule, 16 CFR Part 313--Comment
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Capital Recovery assists property owners across the country recover mortgage insurance premium refunds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The government makes one attempt to notify the property owner of the refund and usually fails. Our clientele is very mobile and constantly changing addresses, often without leaving a forwarding addresses. Header information, nonpersonal information provided by consumers, provided by credit bureaus is an invaluable tool used to serve our clients. Without such a tool, HUD would unjustly withhold mortgage insurance premium refunds from property owners.
Financial information provided by consumers to financial institutions has no place in the public arena. The Financial Modernization Act (FMA) takes great steps to ensure such information is protected and remains undisclosed by financial institutions for consumer protection. But regulators have gone beyond the intent of Title V in defining financial information. This exaggerated definition will hinder business across the nation, leading to negative effects on the economy.
As a business that uses consumer provided information as an integral part of our business, the current interpretation of FMA is very relative to us. The scope of how financial information is being interpreted is beyond what is reasonable and the intent of Congress. If the Act is allowed to be interpreted as including consumer information that is not financial in nature our ability to conduct business to be severely hindered.
The improper interpretation and regulation of "financial information" could adversely affect our capability to conduct business. If information currently classified as public information, such as header information, that is reported to credit bureaus is classified within the scope of financial information it would become nonpublic personal information. Were such information withheld from the public, the intent of Congress would be erroneously applied and our ability to conduct business extremely crippled.
Credit history, account balances and other financial information are adequately protected by the Act, as such private information should. It is also inarguable that some information provided to financial institutions is not financially related. Congress has not previously enacted legislation classifying header information as nonpublic nor intended legislation to do such. The Act intends financial information to be performance information, information uniquely required by a financial institution from consumers. As presently interpreted, the Act includes eligibility information under the definition of financial information and nonpublic personal information. Unless financial information and header information is more clearly defined, the governing agencies of financial institutions will continue to misinterpret the intent of Congress. Not only would this misinterpretation have negative effects on business, but also for consumers these agencies are trying to protect.