Federal regulators released a consumer research study that offers suggestions for consumer-friendly financial privacy notices.

The report, titled "Evolution of a Prototype Financial Privacy Notice," concludes the first phase of a project sponsored by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The six-agency effort is aimed at exploring alternatives for financial privacy notices that would be easier for consumers to read, understand and use than many of the notices consumers currently receive from financial institutions. The agencies were among those who issued regulations in 2000 to implement the financial privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but surveys in the years since have shown that many consumers don't read or understand the notices financial institutions provide under the regulations.

Over a 12-month period, researchers from the Kleimann Communication Group conducted focus groups and in-depth individual interviews with consumers throughout the United States. Among its conclusions, the research firm said shorter, simpler alternatives exist, and offered a sample prototype.

The six agencies, together with the Office of Thrift Supervision, will fund a second phase of the project, which will involve interviewing a much larger group of consumers throughout the United States to measure the effectiveness of the prototype and other examples of notices.

The full report is available at www.ftc.gov/privacy/privacyinitiatives/
ftcfinalreport060228.pdf
.

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