SALT LAKE CITY – The long-running clash between banks and credit unions is hampering the fight on identity theft and hindering progress on developing a common database, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has complained. “They fight like cats and dogs, and so when they sit down at the table they are wary of each other,” said a spokesman for Shurtleff who for months has been trying to develop cooperation among financial institutions, retailers and law enforcement agencies on putting together a computerized database that identity theft victims can access. Currently, the Utah League of Credit Unions, the Utah Bankers Association and retail groups retain separate databases, but little is done in the way of sharing other than directly with law enforcement and the AG seeks to improve cooperation, said AG officials. Last October, Shurtleff’s office held its first “ID Theft Summit” which drew 90 participants who were broken down into interim steering committees to pursue various aspects of the ID theft problem. Top execs from banks and CUs, merchants and credit bureaus were represented at the October meeting. A second “summit” is planned this summer. Kirk Torgensen, chief deputy attorney general who helped organize the October meeting, said greater institution cooperation through creation of a linked data base – perhaps a first in the U.S. – can help speed relief for ID victims. The database reports would be “simplified and standardized” for easy access, said Torgensen. “Nobody has really taken it this far, but the data base would be a huge step for victims,” said Torgensen. Lynn Kuehne, executive vice president of the Utah League, agreed “it is something that needs to be worked on,” but sharing is a problem and the bank/CU fight has not helped. At the October meeting, Shurtleff warned that he has “never seen a crime grow so fast” as has been the case for ID theft. He suggested collection, credit and law enforcement agencies will need to “consider grace periods to allow victims to discover and report identity theft.” Among those attending the October meeting was Steve Christensen, chairman of the Utah League and president of Tooele FCU. Also represented were security and auditing staffers from his CU, America First FCU and Granite CU. -

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