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Privacy Notices

You have probably received privacy notices from banks and other financial companies in the mail. Companies involved in financial transactions must send these notices.

Contents of Privacy Notices

Privacy notices explain how your financial institution handles and shares your personal information. The privacy notice explains what information your financial institution collects and how you can limit the amount of information that is shared with others.

There are three types of privacy notices include:

  1. Initial Privacy Notices are required when you open an account or become a customer of a financial company.
  2. Annual Privacy Notices are required once a year from each financial company you have an ongoing relationship with, such as the bank where you have a checking account.
  3. Notice of Changes in Privacy Polices are required if a financial company changes its privacy policy and the changes are not notes in the next annual privacy notice.

Why Do Financial Companies Share Your Information?

Financial companies share information for many reasons, including:

  • Offer you more services
  • Introduce you to new products
  • Profit from the information they have about you

If you would like to know about other products and services, you may want your financial company to share your personal information; in this case, you do not need to respond to the privacy notice.

Opting Out

Federal privacy laws give you the right to stop or opt out of some, but not all, sharing of your personal information. These laws balance your right to privacy with financial companies’ need to provide information for normal business purposes.

The law permits a financial company to share certain information about you without giving you the right to opt out. The company might give your information:

  • To firms that help promote and market products offered by the company itself or jointly with another company
  • To firms that provide data processing and mailing services for your company
  • When a court orders it to do so
  • To credit bureaus about your payment history on loans

If you want to opt out of information sharing, you must follow the directions provided by your financial company in the privacy notice. For example, you may have to call a toll-free number or fill out a form and return the form to the company.

  • If you opt out, you limit the extent to which the company can provide your personal information to non-affiliates.
  • If you do not opt out with 30 days after the company mails the notice, the company is free to share certain personal financial information.
  • If you did not opt out the first time you received a privacy notice from a financial company, you can always change your mind and opt out of certain information sharing. Contact your financial company and ask for instructions on how to opt out.
  • Remember, your right to opt out does not apply to personal financial information shared before you opted out.

In addition, you can opt out of receiving most preapproved offers of credit or insurance by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) or visiting the following site: