Consumers and Financial Privacy: Helpful FDIC Resources

by Debra N. Diener J.D. CIPP G

Senior Man On Phone Using Laptop At Home

It is so important to learn about financial privacy — your rights and your ability to have greater control over what financial institutions do with your personal financial information.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has a website that provides an array of consumer-oriented reports and information.

The homepage of their website ( has one category, for example, that’s titled “Consumers & Communities” that provides “information, alerts and advice.”  This is the place to go for background information as well as alerts about financial scams.

You’ll find numerous topics under the “Consumers & Communities” heading. There’s one titled “Financial Privacy …Our Answers to Your Questions.”  The FDIC asked consumers to send in their questions about financial privacy.  They have now listed the answers to these very important questions:

  1. “Can I contact my bank and credit card companies to request that they not share my information or do I need to fill out a form?”;
  2. “Some of the institutions don’t say anything about contacting them to opt out, yet according to the notices, these institutions are sharing plenty of information.  When can an institution share information without giving a customer a chance to opt out?”;
  3. “If I send the proper notice that I wish to opt out, do I have to redo this form each year or will my initial notice remain in effect?”
  4. “If I opt out of information sharing because I don’t want unsolicited offers, does this prevent my bank from reporting my creditworthiness to credit bureaus and, therefore, to other institutions I may be applying to for credit?”; and
  5. “Friends and relatives have forwarded to me the same anonymous e-mail message warning that, as of July 1, credit bureaus can share my credit information, mailing address, telephone number and other information “to anyone who requests it” unless I opt out.  Is this true?”

These may be the same questions you have but weren’t sure where to look for the answers.  Take the time to go to the FDIC’s website to learn more about how you can be pro-active in protecting your financial privacy.


Ms. Diener is now an independent consultant on privacy, identity management, information protection and risk management. She served in senior managerial, legal, policy and legislative positions in all three branches of the Federal government. In addition to her privacy expertise, Ms. Diener played a lead role on such important domestic and international issues as criminal justice/law enforcement and financial services. She speaks frequently at industry and governmental conferences and meetings.