Any company or organization that offers financial products or services to consumers should provide them with an annual privacy notice. Financial institutions include organizations such as:

  • Credit Card Issuers
  • Banks
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Debt Collectors
  • Collection Agencies
  • Payday Loan Companies,
  • Insurance Companies

These are a few types of businesses which provide financial products or services to consumers.

Is it important to get a privacy notice for each of my accounts?

In most cases, if a consumer has multiple accounts with a single merchant they will not get a privacy notice for every single account. They should receive a notice of the privacy statement of the company. It is possible that a consumer could receive a policy notice that is used by multiple companies which would all be listed as covered by the policy notice.

Can consumers assess privacy policies before doing business with a financial institution?

It is definitely okay for consumers to ask a financial institution for a copy of its privacy policy. It is important to note that an institution is not required to share their privacy policy with a person unless they are an existing customer or have some type of customer relationship with the institution. Consumers should be given a privacy policy when they enter into a customer relationship with the institution and then only yearly notices are required.

A customer relationship indicates a relationship between the financial institution and a consumer that is continuing. This does not include consumers who just perform a single transaction with an institution like making a single ATM deposit or withdrawal. A consumer only gets a notice if their information is disclosed to nonaffiliated third parties. A customer has a relationship with the institution and has a right to know how their information will be shared. They will typically only receive the required annual notice unless the institution makes changes to its privacy policies.