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WASHINGTON – After a two-day markup session of several bills in the House Financial Services Committee, data security legislation and a bill to bolster the flood insurance program were approved. The Financial Data Protection Act (H.R. 3997), approved 48-17 by the committee, is one of about a dozen data security bills currently floating around Congress. It expands the data safeguarding standards from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act to establish uniform standards for all businesses that possess sensitive consumer financial account data or identity information. Several of the recent high-profile breaches have involved large data brokers that compile personal information files on consumers but are not subject to current federal data security requirements. The bill would also require businesses to immediately investigate any reasonable indication of a breach; notify law enforcement, appropriate regulator(s), and other businesses in the transaction chain of potential breaches that could result in harm or inconvenience to any consumer; notify the consumers directly if the potential breach could result in financial fraud against consumers through a uniform mailing; and offer affected consumers free credit file monitoring. Credit unions and banks are highly interested in the issue because they are often the direct connection to the consumer and many times the retailer that experienced the breach is not disclosed, leading to reputational risk. Additionally, America’s Community Bankers has estimated a cost of about $25 per card that is compromised and must be replaced. NAFCU and ACB have been lobbying to include a provision that would have retailers reimburse the financial institutions for card replacement, which the retailers are opposing. Congressman Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) introduced such an amendment at the markup but withdrew it after the bill’s sponsor, Congressman Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio)-a strong credit union friend-agreed to work with Capuano. CUNA wrote in a letter to Congress that it would like language addressing retention of confidential financial and identifying information by nonfinancial entities, disclosure of the source of a breach, and fines for noncompliance going to support financial literacy programs. “The Committee’s action sends a clear message that Congress is serious about confronting the string of data security breaches that have exposed millions of consumers to harm.” LaTourette stated. “We have crafted a balanced bill that makes sure companies safeguard their sensitive information and ensures that consumers are fully protected if data is breached.” He added that he looked forward to a full House vote in the near future. In the same markup, the Financial Services Committee also favorably reported out the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization (FIRM) Act of 2006 (H.R. 4973), increasing the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program to $25 billion. The bill would also commission a review of purchase requirements for the natural 100-year flood plain, increase fines for non-enforcement of mandatory purchase requirements, increase coverage limits, mandates a review of the flood maps, and authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire additional staff to implement the changes. -

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