Q&A with Justin L. Pybas
Attorney discusses your rights
regarding financial privacy
Q: I know financial institutions are prohibited from giving, releasing or disclosing a customer's financial records to a third party. Are there exceptions?
A: Yes. There are two. If the financial institution has written consent from the customer to release certain financial records, then the financial institution may release records in accordance with the consent. If the financial institution has been served with a subpoena, then it must release the financial records requested in accordance with the subpoena.
Q: Must customers be notified of subpoenas?
A: Yes. The party issuing the subpoena must mail a copy of the subpoena to the customer on or before the date the subpoena is served on the financial institution. The customer has 14 days after the subpoena was mailed to ask the appropriate court, state agency or legislative committee to reject the subpoena.
Q: How does the customer ask that the subpoena be rejected?
A: The customer's attorney will file or submit a document called a “Motion to Quash,” which will set forth the reasons why the subpoena should be rejected. It is then up to the applicable court, state agency or legislative committee to determine whether the financial institution should be required to release the customer's financial records pursuant to the subpoena.
Q: Do these procedures apply if the customer is the subject of a criminal investigation or a multicounty grand jury investigation?
A: No. In those instances, the customer does not have a right to receive prior notice and a copy of the subpoena or search warrant.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER