R. Kinney Williams & Associates
R. Kinney Williams
& Associates

Internet Banking News

July 1, 2001

FYI - Joint agency interpretation of Board's Regulation P (Privacy of Consumer Financial Information). www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/legalint/privacy/2001/20010525/default.htm 

INTERNET COMPLIANCE - Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E)

Generally, when online banking systems include electronic fund transfers that debit or credit a consumer's account, the requirements of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E apply. A transaction involving stored value products is covered by Regulation E when the transaction accesses a consumer's account (such as when value is "loaded" onto the card from the consumer's deposit account at an electronic terminal or personal computer).

Financial institutions must provide disclosures that are clear and readily understandable, in writing, and in a form the consumer may keep. An Interim rule was issued on March 20, 1998 that allows depository institutions to satisfy the requirement to deliver by electronic communication any of these disclosures and other information required by the act and regulations, as long as the consumer agrees to such method of delivery.

Financial institutions must ensure that consumers who sign up for a new banking service are provided with disclosures for the new service if the service is subject to terms and conditions different from those described in the initial disclosures. Although not specifically mentioned in the commentary, this applies to all new banking services including electronic financial services.

The Federal Reserve Board Official Staff Commentary (OSC) also clarifies that terminal receipts are unnecessary for transfers initiated online. Specifically, OSC regulations provides that, because the term "electronic terminal" excludes a telephone operated by a consumer, financial institutions need not provide a terminal receipt when a consumer initiates a transfer by a means analogous in function to a telephone, such as by a personal computer or a facsimile machine.

Additionally, the regulations clarifies that a written authorization for preauthorized transfers from a consumer's account includes an electronic authorization that is not signed, but similarly authenticated by the consumer, such as through the use of a security code. According to the OSC, an example of a consumer's authorization that is not in the form of a signed writing but is, instead, "similarly authenticated," is a consumer's authorization via a home banking system. To satisfy the regulatory requirements, the institution must have some means to identify the consumer (such as a security code) and make a paper copy of the authorization available (automatically or upon request). The text of the electronic authorization must be displayed on a computer screen or other visual display that enables the consumer to read the communication from the institution. Only the consumer may authorize the transfer and not, for example, a third-party merchant on behalf of the consumer.

Pursuant to the regulations, timing in reporting an unauthorized transaction, loss, or theft of an access device determines a consumer's liability. A financial institution may receive correspondence through an electronic medium concerning an unauthorized transaction, loss, or theft of an access device. Therefore, the institution should ensure that controls are in place to review these notifications and also to ensure that an investigation is initiated as required.

INTERNET SECURITY - We continue the series from the FDIC "Security Risks Associated with the Internet." Over the next few weeks, this series will discuss the primary technical and procedural security measures necessary to properly govern access control and system security.

System Architecture and Design

Measures to address access control and system security start with the appropriate system architecture. Ideally, if an Internet connection is to be provided from within the institution, or a Web site established, the connection should be entirely separate from the core processing system. If the Web site is placed on its own server, there is no direct connection to the internal computer system. However, appropriate firewall technology may be necessary to protect Web servers and/or internal systems.

Placing a "screening router" between the firewall and other servers provides an added measure of protection, because requests could be segregated and routed to a particular server (such as a financial information server or a public information server). However, some systems may be considered so critical, they should be completely isolated from all other systems or networks. Security can also be enhanced by sending electronic transmissions from external sources to a machine that is not connected to the main operating system.

 

PLEASE NOTE:  Some of the above links may have expired, especially those from news organizations.  We may have a copy of the article, so please e-mail us at examiner@yennik.com if we can be of assistance.  

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