CFPB Keeps Data on Nearly 600 Million Credit Card Accounts
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is collecting sensitive financial data on close to 600 million credit card accounts but lacks adequate privacy and security plans to protect the information, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
“The CFPB’s massive data collection effort is an unwarranted, unwelcome intrusion into the private financial lives of millions of Americans,” said Senator Mike Crapo in a statement. Crapo requested the nonpartisan GAO report .
The report also found the CFPB was collecting data on 11 million credit reports, 29 million active mortgages and 5.5 million private student loans.
The CFPB only collected information for 25 to 75 million credit card accounts; the remainder of the information comes from data-sharing agreements with another financial agency.
Senator Crapo originally requested the study because he was concerned about the scope of the agency’s collective practices.
“At a time when data and identity-related crimes are at an all-time high, the last thing the American people need is one more federal agency collecting their private financial information,” he said.
A CFPB spokesman responded to the report by saying, “The GAO’s report recognizes that the Bureau collects data on a scale similar to other regulators and uses that data to carry out its mission to protect consumers. The CFPB agrees with the GAO’s recommendations, which focus primarily on documentation of processes related to data collection.”
CFPB Director Richard Cordray says that the organization is already in the process of developing written guidelines for data collection as a result of the GAO report. “As GAO notes in its report, access to such data allows the Bureau to ‘better detect risks in consumer financial markets and improve federal oversight of consumer financial laws.'”