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CFPB RFI, Field Hearing on Consumer Choice, Control of Financial Data

With a growing number of products and services available to help consumers manage their finances electronically, being able to do so means sharing their digital financial records. The CFPB says it understands the opportunities technology provides in offering these financial tools, but the agency wants to learn more about how much control consumers have over their financial records and how safe those records are when shared with third parties. To that end, the CFPB (Nov. 17) has issued a request for information (RFI) to help it understand the issues associated with consumers’ access to their financial records and how that information can be used.

“The technology around digital financial records continues to develop and, so far, there are many unanswered questions about how the information is being shared, by and to whom, and how safely,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said during a field hearing in Salt Lake City. “As with any emerging industry, we are hearing about some bumps in the road. Both fintech companies and financial institutions, as well as consumer groups, are describing to us the various challenges, risks and technological obstacles to further progress in this area.”

The CFPB has narrowed its scope of information-gathering to three main points:

  • Are consumers being given opportunities to access and enable others to securely access their personal financial records? Are there any “business burdens” that must be addressed to provide access and use of financial records?
  • Third-party risk. The bureau has heard concerns from some financial institutions that providing third parties with access to records could compromise consumer privacy or put their funds at risk. The CFPB would like options for ensuring that financial records are securely obtained, stored and used.
  • Consumer control: Consumers who allow third-parties to access and use their financial records need to know—and control—how their records will be used by third parties. What information are consumers given pertaining to how their records will be accessed and used, as well as the extent consumers can control how the information will be used?

Comments must be received by Feb. 21, 2017. Comments to the RFI, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2016-0048, can be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov; by email: FederalRegisterComments@cfpb.gov, including Docket No. CFPB-2016-0048 in the subject line; by mail: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, D.C., 20552; or by hand to Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1275 First Street NE, Washington, D.C. 20002.

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