Federation of California Education Foundation today issued a Report
Card on the Privacy Practices of 55 major California banks, insurers
and financial services companies. Rating the ability of consumers
to limit the sale or sharing of confidential information, eight
financial corporations received grades in the “A”
range, while six received grades of “D” and ten received
grades of “F.”
is the first report of its kind. It reveals the wide range of
privacy practices of major banks, insurers, brokerages and credit
card issuers,” said Richard Holober, Executive Director
of the CFC Education Foundation. “It is no surprise that
the same banks and credit card companies that vehemently opposed
privacy legislation are the worst privacy violators.”
Speier (D Hillsborough), author of California's landmark Financial
Privacy law (SB 1) commented, “The good news in this report
is that some financial institutions grow and prosper while honoring
consumer privacy. They set a standard for others to emulate. The
bad news is that most banks, insurance companies and credit card
companies shortchange their customers by denying them any real
control over the spread of their confidential information. The
report makes it clear that the fight to win privacy rights is
far from over.” SB 1 was enacted last September and it takes
effect in July 2004.
report sheds new light on the privacy practices of major financial
institutions,” stated Beth Givens, Executive Director of
the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. “Some banks and insurance
companies do a good job of respecting their customers' privacy.
But far too many businesses fall short. The report underscores
the need for stronger privacy laws since individuals have far
too little control over their sensitive personal financial information.”
examined what steps, if any, banks, insurers, and other financial
institutions took beyond the minimal requirements of federal law,
to limit the sale and sharing of private consumer financial information.
were given to companies that did not sell or share personally
identifiable information without prior consent of the consumer
(known as “Ask Me First” or “Opt-In”).
Companies that sold or shared personal information but allowed
consumers the choice to stop sharing (“Opt Out”) received
partial credit, and additional points were given for companies
that gave consumers more than one method to assert their Opt Out
(Toll free phone number, website, etc).
Card is based on the institutions' stated privacy policies. The
Consumer Federation of California Education Foundation did not
examine any company's compliance with their stated policy.
was funded by a grant from the Rose Foundation.
Download Financial Privacy
2004 Report in PDF