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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For the second time in less than a month, a hearing by the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee on long-fought financial privacy legislation has been postponed. No date was set for the measure, SB1 by state Sen. Jackie Speier, to be heard, according to her office. The measure was passed by the California Senate in March and sent to the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee. It originally was to be heard May 19 but was postponed when it appeared that it had little chance of success. A hearing scheduled for Monday (June 10) on an amended version of the bill was also postponed. Speier amended the bill to try to make it more palatable to banks, stock brokerages and insurance companies which have opposed it in past years. Those groups have spent an estimated $20 million to defeat financial privacy legislation in California. Assemblywoman Pat Wiggins, chairman of the banking and finance committee, said she was “cautiously optimistic” about chances for the bill this time around. Gov. Gray Davis has come out in support of the measure, which would give consumers more control over how companies could share the personal financial information they collect. Even if the bill is killed, even tougher financial privacy legislation could be placed directly before voters in March 2004 in the form of a ballot initiative. That initiative is being spearheaded by Chris Larsen, chief executive officer of E-Loan. The proposal would require financial institutions, insurance companies and stock brokerages to obtain customer permission before selling or sharing any personal financial information they collect.

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