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    Irish Times: Banks abusing customer data, say brokers

    The Irish Times reports on possible privacy violations in Ireland concerning bank customers’ personal financial data:

    BANKS HAVE been accused of breaking consumer protection laws by monitoring account transactions and using information gleaned from them to put pressure on consumers to switch from independently sourced products to products sold by the banks, according to the State’s largest group of financial brokers.

    A survey released at the agm of the Professional Insurance Brokers’ Association (Piba) today found that 76 per cent of brokers say consumers are being pressured to take out bank’s in-house products in order to maintain overdraft and other loan facilities.

    The survey also claims that customers’ account transaction details, such as direct debits going to other institutions, are being targeted to persuade consumers to switch to in-house products. […]

    The brokers’ group recently met the Data Protection Commissioner to highlight the issue.

    Last year a Data Protection Commission report found, among other things, that, “in several institutions our investigations revealed marketing customers on the basis of information contained in their direct debits, such as a monthly payment to another financial institution or a payment to the life branch of an insurance company”. […]

    Piba has issued guidelines to its 850 member firms, outlining the process for making formal complaints against the banks to either the Central Bank or the Data Protection Commissioner.

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