Several financial services trade groups told the House in a Wednesday memo that while some retailers have agreed to collaborate with authorities and lawmakers to protect consumer data, others have made “misleading and counterproductive statements” regarding security breaches.
The memo was submitted by the American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, The Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America and National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
“Target and Neiman Marcus have testified before the House and Senate about their breaches and, to their credit, have accepted their share of the responsibility and have pledge to work with law enforcement, the financial industry and Congress to find ways to better protect consumers,” the groups said in the memo. “Unfortunately, others in the retail industry have not taken this approach.”
The groups said in the letter that they would like to “set the record straight” on breaches at financial institutions, citing data from the Identity Theft Resource Center that revealed 77 percent of breaches in 2013 occurred at businesses and healthcare facilities while just four percent occurred at financial institutions.
“The recent breaches all involve intrusions into the computer networks of various companies,” the groups said. “These compromises have nothing to do with card technology and everything to do with holes in internal firewalls at these companies that criminals are exploiting.”
Additionally, the groups said the nation’s financial institutions “initially make consumers whole,” though they receive “minimal reimbursement” for their efforts.
“Certain retail groups cannot be allowed to divert attention and duck their responsibility for protecting the sensitive personal information of consumers by always claiming that ‘it’s someone else’s fault,’” the groups said. “In fact, it is all of our responsibility to fight an elusive criminal element… It’s time to stop the blame game and be part of the solution.”