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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Though the NCUA Board took no action other than adjourning at its March meeting, the board members did receive public briefings on critical provisions in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which all financial services regulators will be addressing shortly. NCUA Staff Attorney Chrisanthy Loizos gave the presentation on the regulations required under the negative information disclosure requirement of the FACT Act. The law requires federal credit unions to provide member with a written notice if the institution furnishes negative information to a nationwide credit reporting agency. The disclosures are required to be “clear and conspicuous” and be provided within 30 days of the negative report. After this first notice no further notice is necessary if additional negative information is given about the same transaction or account. The notices may be sent with any billing statement or other materials provided to the member other than the initial Truth in Lending Act disclosures. Section 217 of the law does not require a federal credit union to furnish negative information to a credit bureau at all. Certain safe harbors are also built into the section, including that the Federal Reserve issue a mode form by June 4, 2004. Additionally, institutions maintaining reasonable policies and procedures for compliance will not be liable for failure to perform the duties of section 217, or if the credit union reasonably believes it was prohibited from contacting the member. Loizos explained that NCUA and the other agencies are mulling over three paths of issuing a proposal: 1) they could simply cross-reference the Fed’s model form in their fair credit reporting regs; 2) they could issue a more substantive proposal describing the statutory requirements; or 3) the agencies could adopt a substantive proposal requiring an institution to provide the notice after a triggering event, like a late payment. Originally, the agency planned on issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the negative information disclosure requirement under the FACT Act, but as all the agencies have not agreed on a proposal, that was postponed and a briefing on the matter was held instead. The notice of proposed rulemaking may be out in time for the April board meeting, Loizos said. Section 217 of the FACT Act becomes effective Dec. 1, 2004. The NCUA Board also was briefed on the medical information sharing rule under the FACT Act. According to the Board Action Memorandum, “The FACT Act prohibits, with some exceptions, a creditor from obtaining or using a consumer’s medical information in connection with any determination of the consumer’s eligibility or continued eligibility for credit.” The regulators are charged with creating additional exceptions to the prohibitions, according to NCUA Staff Attorney Regina Metz, who provided the presentation. The final rule on this provision is due out June 4, 2004. The agencies plan to have a proposal out by the beginning of April, with a 30-day comment period, that the NCUA Board will vote on by notation vote. The definition of the medical information that is prohibited from sharing includes “information created by or derived from a health care provider or consumer that relate to the past, present, or future physical, mental, or behavioral health or condition of an individual, the provision of health care to an individual, or the payment for the provision of health care to an individual.” It does not include information like age or address. -

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