Summary: Request for Information, Consumer Access to Financial Records

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Prepared by NASCUS Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Department
November 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a “Notice and Request for Information” (RFI) seeking comments regarding consumer access to financial account and account-related data in electronic form. The Bureau is seeking comments from the public about consumer access to such information, including access by entities acting with a consumer’s permission, in connection with the provision of products or services that make use of such information.  The Bureau encourages feedback from all members of the public, including regulators and consumer financial product/service providers that control or possess data about consumer use of their products/services.

Comments must be received within 90 days from the publication date of the RFI in the Federal Register. The Notice and Request for Information can be found here.

Questions Pertaining to Current Market Practices:

  • What types of products/services are currently made available to consumers that rely, at least in part, on consumer-permissioned electronic access to consumer financial account data? What benefits do consumers realize as result? This question covers the use of such data to deliver products/services or to assess eligibility for a given product/service.
  • How many consumers are using or seeking to sue such products/services? What demographic or other aggregate information is available about these consumers?
  • To provide or assess eligibility for these products/services, what kinds of consumer financial account data are being accessed, by what means, under what terms, and how often? How long is accessed data stored by permissioned parties or account aggregators?
  • To provide or assess eligibility for these products/services, what kinds of non-financial consumer account data are being accessed by parties that also access consumer financial account data? By what means, under what terms, and how often? How long is accessed data stored by permissioned parties or account aggregators?
  • What types of companies offer products/services that rely, at least in part, on consumer-permissioned electronic access to consumer financial account data, either to deliver the product/service or to assess eligibility for the product/service? To what extent are such products/services offered by entities that offer transaction accounts? To what extent are they offered by other market participants?
  • In what ways, if any, do consumer products/services that rely, at least in part, on consumer-permissioned electronic access to consumer financial account data differ according to whether the offering company provides or does not provide transaction accounts to consumers? Do any such differences impact consumers? If so, how?
  • To what extent do market participants compete to offer consumer products and services that rely, at least in part, on consumer-permissioned access to consumer financial account data? How does such competition impact consumers?
  • What incentives or disincentives exist for consumer financial account providers to facilitate or discourage consumer-permissioned access to the account data that they hold by permissioned parties or account aggregators? In what ways do consumer financial account providers directly or indirectly facilitate or restrict consumer-permissioned access to account data? What are the associated impacts to consumers and other market participants?
  • What impediments, obstacles or risks do consumer financial account providers currently face in providing data to or allowing access to data by permissioned parties or account aggregators? Describe specific operational costs, risks, and actual or potential losses and identify their specific causes.
  • What impediments, obstacles or risks do permissioned parties or account aggregators currently face in obtaining such data? Describe specific operational costs, risks, and actual or potential losses, and identify their specific causes.
  • What impediments, obstacles or risks do consumers currently face in obtaining—including permitting access to—such data?
  • What security and other risks do consumers incur if they permit access to their financial account data in order to obtain a particular product or service? What steps have consumer financial account providers, account aggregators, permissioned parties and other users of consumer-permissioned account data taken to mitigate such risks? What information do these parties communicate to consumers about associated risks?
  • In what ways, do account aggregators or permissioned parties use consumer permissioned account data for purposes other than offering or facilitating the delivery of a specific product or service to the consumer providing permission? Do such companies continue to access or store data after the consumer ceases to use the product for which the permissioned data use was intended by the consumer? Do such companies share the data with other parties and, if so, under what terms and conditions? What are the associated impacts to consumers?
  • When consumers permit access to their financial account data, what do they understand about: what data are accessed; how often they are accessed; for what purposes the data are used; whether the permissioned party or account aggregator continues to access, store or use such data after the consumer ceases to use the product or service for which the permissioned data use was intended by the consumer; and with which entities a permissioned party or account aggregator shares the data and on what terms and conditions? What drives or impacts their level of understanding? What impact does their level of understanding have on consumers and on other parties, including on consumers’ willingness to permit access?
  • To what extent are consumers able to control how data is used by permissioned parties or account aggregators that obtain that data via consumer-permissioned access? Are consumers able to control what data are accessed, how often they are accessed, for what purposes and for how long the data are used, and with which entities, if any, a permissioned party or account aggregator may share the data and on what terms and conditions? Are they able to request that permissioned parties, account aggregators, or other users delete such data? Is such data otherwise deleted and, if so, when and by what means? To what extent are consumers consenting to permissioned party and account aggregator practices with respect to access, use and sharing of consumer financial account data?
  • Do consumer financial account providers vet account aggregators or permissioned parties before providing data to them? Do consumer financial account providers perform any ongoing vetting of account aggregators or permissioned parties? If so, for what purposes and using what procedures? What are the associated impacts to consumers and to other parties?
  • What industry standards currently exist, in development or otherwise, to enable consumer-permissioned access to financial account data?

Questions Pertaining to Potential market developments

  • What changes are or may be expected to happen to any market practice described in response to the previous questions? Why, and with what impacts to consumers, consumer financial account providers, permissioned parties, and account aggregators?
  • What changes should happen to any market practice described above? Why, and with what impacts to consumers, consumer financial account providers, permissioned parties, and account aggregators?
  • Are “industry standard” practices that provide consumers with data access comparable to that envisioned by section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act likely to be broadly adopted by consumer financial account providers, permissioned parties and account aggregators in the absence of regulatory action? If not, how will “industry standard” practices be insufficient? What marketplace considerations are likely to bear on such developments? Generally, how will the advent of standard practices for consumer-permissioned access to consumer financial account data affect competition and innovation in various consumer financial service markets?