March 31, 2000
VIA E-Mail to GLBRule.ftc.gov
RE: Gramm-Leach Bliley Act Privacy Rule 16 CFR Part 313CComment
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing in behalf of the Financial Service Centers of America (FiSCA) regarding the above-captioned proposed rule. Our association represents businesses which cash checks for a fee and provide other services on a fee for transaction basis, including the sale of travelers checks and money orders. We believe the statute, which Congress debated with regard to banks, is not intended to apply to the kinds of activities performed by our members.
We concur with the proposals findings that several services our members perform would not constitute creating a Acustomer relationship@ under the rule. The examples cited of an ATM withdrawal, wire transfer or cashing of a check are on point. These are not the activities which Congress was addressing during consideration of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. It is most critical, from a competitive standpoint, that our members not be required to meet the requirements of the act while other, mostly larger entities, would not be required to do so. Grocers, for example, cash far more checks than do check cashers. Our members would be put at a substantial disadvantage in the marketplace if they were required to spend the funds to post notices, decide how to separate Aconsumers@ from Acustomers@ and obtain legal counsel knowledgeable about national banking law.
If applied to our industry, the costs could be significant for many of our member companies. We have a few chain operations, but many more Amom and pop@ operations consisting of one to three locations. This was confirmed in 1997 by a Treasury Department sponsored report. In addition to all the usual expenses necessary to run a small business in 2,000, our members are having to cope with a myriad of other requirements, including compliance costs imposed by new treasury regulations which become effective in December, 2001. The additional legal and compliance costs involved in this new statute would impose a substantial new and costly burden on businesses often operating on thin margins.
To the extent any of our members may be deemed to be covered by Title V of the Act, we question the proposed regulation=s definition of Anon-public personal information@. Section 509(4) of the Act defines Anon-public personal information@ to mean Apersonally identifiable financial information@. Under both proposals A and B, the mere provision by a customer of his or her name and address is considered private information. But a name and address alone do not constitute Afinancial@ information by any definition of the word Afinancial.@ Had Congress intended names and addresses to be confidential, it could have done so.
We urge that the rule make clear that the provisions of the Act do not apply to persons engaged in the check cashing industry, as these were not the entities envisioned by the authors of this legislation, who were concerned about the commercial accumulation of their customers personal data. Further, we urge that the rule be amended to make clear that only financial information need by considered Anon-public personal information@ as Congress intended.
Robert E. Rochford, Esq.