ABA says banks are committed to customer privacy

As Privacy Awareness Week kicks off, the Australian Bankers' Association says lenders view customer security as a top priority



The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) says banks are committed to protecting customer’s privacy and safeguarding personal information, following the launch of the federal government’s Privacy Awareness Week.

The ABA is reminding customers that one of the most valuable services that a bank can provide is to protect its customers’ privacy.

Steven Münchenberg, chief executive of the ABA, says the banking industry is committed to continuing its tradition of safeguarding financial information.

“At the same time, banks and their customers are seeking convenient and secure banking services to simplify their busy lives. Banking on your mobile, via your tablet, at home in your lounge room or on your laptop, are all ways that people make payments, check their balances and organise their finances. Banks are working very hard to ensure their policies and practices are in sync with customers’ expectation of privacy, whatever channel they use to complete banking transactions.”

The ABA is supporting Privacy Awareness Week, which runs from April 28 to May 4, aimed at promoting awareness about privacy rights and responsibilities.

Münchenberg says current laws provide strong privacy protections and that Parliament has enacted amended legislation to update and enhance Australia’s privacy regime.

“These changes will come into effect in March, 2014. Banks must disclose their privacy policies which outline how they manage customer information, whether they share information with outside companies and why the information is shared.”

“Customers may opt out of having their information shared with affiliated companies or non-affiliated third parties for marketing purposes. This means that the customer can choose and can control how information is used. Customers can opt out at any time and there is no deadline.”

Banks also invest resources in keeping customer information safe. Banks train their employees; have strict privacy policies, rigorous security standards, use encryption and fraud detection technology to protect customers.

“Unfortunately, wherever money is handled, criminals will see opportunities – whether that is in cyberspace or on the street. The criminals’ aim is to get customers’ personal information by deception.”

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