If you want to opt out of information sharing, you must follow the directions provided by your financial company. For example, you may have to call a toll-free number or fill out a form and return the form to the company.
In some cases, your financial company may give you the choice to opt out of different types of sharing. For example, you could opt out of certain categories of information the company provides to other companies but allow the company to share other kinds of information.
Privacy Notices You May Receive
Initial Privacy Notice. You will usually receive a privacy notice when you open an account or become a customer of a financial company. If you open an account over the phone, however, and you agree, the company may send you a notice at a later time.
A privacy notice may be included as an insert with your monthly statement or bill, or it may be sent to you in a separate mailing. If you agree to electronic delivery from an on-line financial company, the notice may be sent to you by e-mail or it may be made available to you on the companys web site.
If you have more than one account with the same company, the company may send you only one privacy notice for all of your accounts or it may send you separate notices for each of your accounts.
If you have a joint account with another person (for example, a joint checking account or a mortgage loan), the financial company may send a notice to one of you or to each person listed on the account. If the company provides an opportunity to opt out, it must let one of the account holders opt out for all joint account holders.
What to Do When You Receive Your Notices
- Read all privacy notices.
- Get answers to your questions from your financial company.
- If applicable, decide whether you want to opt out.
Where Else to Turn for Help
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Regulates state-chartered banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System, bank holding companies, and branches of foreign banks
Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Stop 801
20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Regulates commodity brokers, commodity trading advisors, commodity pools, and introducing brokers
Privacy Officer, Office of Chief Counsel
Division of Trading and Markets
Three Lafayette Center
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Regulates state-chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
877-ASK-FDIC or 877-275-3342 toll-free
Federal Trade Commission
Regulates any financial company not covered by the other federal regulators such as mortgage brokers, tax and investment services, finance companies, credit bureaus, nonbank lenders, auto dealers, leasing companies, appraisers, real estate settlement services, credit counseling services, and collection agency services
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
877-FTC-HELP or 877-382-4357 toll-free
National Credit Union Administration
Regulates federally chartered credit unions
Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
1775 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3428
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Regulates national banks, District of Columbia banks, federal branches and federal agencies of foreign banks, and subsidiaries of such entities. These typically include banks with "national" or "N.A." in their names.
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street
Houston, TX 77010
Office of Thrift Supervision
Regulates federal savings and loan associations and federal savings banks
1700 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20552
Securities and Exchange Commission
Regulates brokerage firms, mutual fund companies, and investment advisors
Office of Investor Education and Assistance
450 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20549-0213
More Information About the Laws
Affecting Your Personal Financial Privacy
Two federal laws cover different aspects of how companies can share your financial information, as described in this guide: the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects the privacy of certain information distributed by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). Most CRAs are credit bureaus that gather and provide information about you, such as if you pay your bills on time or have filed for bankruptcy, to creditors and other businesses. Under the law, credit bureaus and other CRAs can release your information only to those third parties that have certified that they have a purpose permitted by the law to obtain your consumer report, such as to evaluate your application for credit, insurance, or employment, or to rent you an apartment.
When a financial company obtains your credit report from a credit bureau, it may want to share that information with an affiliate, meaning a company that owns your financial company, that your financial company owns, or that is part of the same parent organization or corporate family. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, however, if the financial company plans to share certain information--for example, from your credit report or your credit application--with its affiliates, it will usually first notify you and give you an opportunity to opt out. This notice is likely to be included in the privacy notice you receive from the financial company under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial companies to tell you about their policies regarding the privacy of your personal financial information. With some exceptions, the law limits the ability of financial companies to share your personal financial information with certain non-affiliates. A non-affiliate is a company that is unrelated to your financial company, and may include:
Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, your financial company can provide your personal financial information to non-affiliated service providers including joint marketers. But before it shares your information with other third-party non-affiliates (outside of these exceptions), your financial company must tell you about its information sharing practices and give you the opportunity to opt out.
- Service providers--companies hired by your financial company to perform a specific service, such as printing your checks
- Joint marketers--companies that have an agreement with your financial company to offer you other financial products or services
- Other third-party non-affiliate--which could include companies that may want access to your financial companys mailing list to tell you about other products and services.