Handle Business Loan Client’s Data With Care

By Charles H. Green

Knowledge is power – Francis Bacon

As a business lender, you run the risk of literally drowning in information. From the minute we awake, turn on any one of several communications devices or get in our car, there are messages streamed at us or unfolding before us that are hard to avoid.

We are inundated with client information, vendor messages, newspapers, trade association AOL10messages, training programs and yes, the important daily dose of the Coleman Report.

If you work for a bank, you have some extraordinary obligations to safeguard client information. The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires special handling of client data with no unauthorized disclosure about clients to other parties allowed, and even with permission, it should be restricted to only those with a need-to-know basis.

But even after mandated annual training, inadvertent disclosures are frequent as lenders interact with client business among related parties. It might be as simple as sharing business leads or as complicated as what information is disclosed to a third party performing due diligence about the client for the lender.

According to the Georgia State Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility, in 2013 there were more than 9 million ID thefts in the U.S., 77 million names with confidential information compromised, 90% of business websites were hacked and more than 1/3 of all companies suffered the theft of intellectual property.

Failure to handle applicant/client information with care can have significant costs, short term and long term to both the client and the lender. Think twice about sharing – or even mentioning – client data or identities when not working directly on client matters.

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