I have consolidated a lot of finances from several banks (Chase, a Credit Union) and brokerage houses (Schwab, Fidelity) and since I no longer use these institutions I would like to request a complete purge of my identifying information (SSN, mother's maiden name, phone, email , address, password, Secret questions, etc.)

How would I go about? Is there a law about compliance? How would I verify that the information is truly purged?


According to the privacy policies of at least some of the banks and financial institutions, they reserve the right to keep your information even after you have ceased all relationship with them. You can forbid them from sharing it, but not from keeping it. Unfortunately, there's no law to protect you in such case.

  • Just seeking a clarification: there is no law that prohibits a financial institution from keeping the information, right? but there is a law against their continuing to share the information with others even after you tell them not to? or are consumers out of luck there too? – Dilip Sarwate Mar 27 '12 at 22:58
  • @DilipSarwate, no, not out of luck, you can request them not to share (they have to send you a letter informing you on the ways of doing this, yearly). I think its pretty easy to verify because you'll stop getting their marketing offers. I did it with Chase, and it seems to be effective. – littleadv Mar 27 '12 at 23:02
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    BTW: I know for a fact that the Privacy policy that Chase uses gives them the right to SHARE it even if you end your relationship with them. Read that mice-type people, it's scary! @LittleAdv - The agreement does let you opt out of having them share your information, but only certain types.(coincidentally the exact types that the law requires them to let you opt out of and no more). – JohnFx Mar 27 '12 at 23:41
  • @JohnFx in the age of Google and Facebook, I'm surprised we're given even that... – littleadv Mar 27 '12 at 23:54
  • I believe Chase is one of the few banks that really do this. I came to know about it after I helped a friend move to a CU. He stills gets mail from Chase about new offers and there is no "un-subscribe" link. – f1StudentInUS Mar 28 '12 at 2:03

Some of that info they will have to keep. At least for a while. If you closed the account this year they still have to send tax info to the IRS at the end of the year.

They may also keep transaction history for several years in case you need it. If they purged your mothers maiden name etc from their records, they could never provide you with records without that information. They would not be able to verify who you were.

There are SEC, FDIC, and NCUA requirements on the minimum length they have to keep some of these records. If you were ever audited, they might be the proof you need.

  • This is very useful, I never considered that their records may be necessary for tax reasons in future years. – Ash Machine Mar 28 '12 at 16:20

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