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Getting Noticed: Writing Effective Financial Privacy Notices

Does Your Financial Privacy Notice…

  • use legal jargon?
  • give new meaning to dense, indecipherable text?
  • contain lengthy, unnecessarily complex sentences with convoluted clauses, multiple punctuation marks, and incomprehensible polysyllabic verbiage?

Was Your Notice…

  • “borrowed” from another company without regard for your privacy practices or your customers’ concerns or needs?
  • written by a committee of lawyers?

Since 2001, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act has required financial institutions to provide notices that explain their privacy practices and their customers’ rights. To be sure, many notices satisfy the basic legal requirement to explain obligations and rights accurately. But many notices seem to fall far short when it comes to providing explanations that are meaningful to the reader.

To help businesses create more useful privacy notices for their customers, several federal agencies* brought together a panel of communications experts to talk about effective communications tools and techniques. The consensus among the experts was that meaningful communication can enhance customer confidence and trust – and that the GLB notice requirement can offer an opportunity to make that happen.

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