Banking Interpretations


September 20, 2005 05:28 PM

Bryan Farrell/legal/NYSBD

To [ ]
cc Cheryl Lewis/legal/[email protected]
Subject: Further response to inquiry regarding disclosure of customer account information

Dear [ ]:

I am writing in furtherance of my September 13th response to your inquiry as to whether a collection agency or law firm can get account information about a depositer and then tell the bank to remove funds from the account to satisfy a debt without a subpoena. You further noted that the funds in question were social security disability funds.

With respect to your inquiry, I noted from our early telephone conversations that you had narrowed down your inquiry to whether or not a collection agency or a law firm could obtain depositor information without a subpoena. If that is not the case, please let me know.

In my earlier email, I referenced a case which provided for the confidentiality of such information. I note that there is also a federal statute which would appear to bar the disclosure that is the subject of your inquiry. Under 15 United States Code section 6802, financial institutions are prohibited from disclosing, directly or through an affiliate, to a nonaffiliated party, any nonpublic personal information, except under certain circumstances not here present. The term "nonpublic personal information" is defined to include, among other things, "personally identifiable third party financial information...resulting from any transaction with the consumer or any service performed for the consumer...." I would interpret that section to include account information as that stems from transactions with the consumer and/or services performed for the consumer.

Please let me know if you have any further questions on this matter.


Bryan Farrell