The Bureau’s Latest Bogeyman: Screen-Scraping Restrictions
When the benign dictator of consumer protection says he’s “gravely concerned” about something, it’s best to pay attention to what’s on his mind. So, this morning I want to give you a heads up about screen-scraping.
There are individuals and companies that authorize third parties to collect information from their online accounts so that it can easily be used for other purposes. For instance, it might be helpful for your financial planner to be able to plug-in data from your bank accounts.
But big banks are increasingly frustrated by these legal poachers. In his letter to shareholders in April, Jamie Dimon explained that “One item that I think warrants special attention is when our customers want to allow outside parties to have access to their bank accounts and their bank account information. Our customers have done this with payment companies, aggregators, financial planners and others. We want to be helpful, but we have a responsibility to each of our customers, and we are extremely concerned.”
Speaking at the at the Money 20/20 convention in Sin City yesterday, Director Richard Cordray was not to be outdone in the concern department. He said he was “gravely concerned by reports that some financial institutions are looking for ways to limit, or even shut off, access to financial data rather than exploring ways to make sure that such access, once granted, is safe and secure.”
That’s right. When it comes to screen scraping it’s the banks arguing for more privacy protection and the CFPB warning against placing too many burdens on consumers who want to share their information. Paging Alice in Wonderland. Why do I think that credit unions and community banks could get caught in this crossfire of competing concerns?