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Banks Share Information

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Your bank knows a lot about your finances and spending habits. That information is often shared with other businesses. AB-203, a new bill before the legislature, would stop banks in California from sharing your personal information.

Banks collect information every time a transaction is made. This information is often shared with businesses. Currently, the burden is on consumers to stop banks from giving out financial histories. The proposed bill, called the Consumers' Financial Privacy Act, would require banks to obtain permission first before sharing an individual's personal information. "They will be prohibited from doing so unless an individual gives their expressed written permission that they can in fact share that information with affiliates and third parties," said the bill's author, Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

The banking industry opposes the legislation, saying it's already easy for consumers to keep their private financial information from being shared. "We're making it very easy for customers to opt out," said Kathleen Queenneville of The Mechanic's Bank. "You can do it by phone, you can do it by mail (it's postage paid) you can do it through the Internet, you can do it in person."

According to consumer groups, bank mergers make it easier than ever for them to share financial records with affiliated businesses. They say AB-203 would protect Californians' right to privacy.
Three other states have already adopted similar privacy laws.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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