Russian Lenders Must Comply With Privacy Law, Regulator Says

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By Sergei Blagov

Banks and other financial service providers that make loans must comply with the consent provisions of Russia’s privacy law when seeking repayment of outstanding debts, the Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media said in an advice letter made public Nov. 3.

The advice letter was sent Oct. 18 to the Association of Russian Banks industry group. The ARB had asked the ministry (Minkomsvyaz) to clarify the privacy and consent obligations of lenders when they process personal information to collect debts.

A 2016 debt collection law allows lenders to interact with any third parties, including other individuals such as family members and neighbors, for the purpose of repayment of outstanding debts. But the law also requires lenders to obtain valid consent—in writing—from individual borrowers agreeing to such third-party interactions.

Russia’s 2006 framework personal data privacy law (Federal Law No. 152-FZ) details the requirements for written consent forms for personal data processing. By law, the form must detail information about the company seeking to use the personal data, as well as about third parties that would process the data at the company’s request.

But the form can’t include information about other individuals, such as a borrower’s family members or neighbors, the ministry said. Therefore, debtors can’t give valid consent for processing personal data other than their own—and lenders can’t required debtors to add third parties’ personal data to the consent form, Minkomsvyaz said in the letter.

On a related issue, the ministry said in the letter that individual borrowers may repeal at any time their earlier consent to the processing of their personal data. However, even if the consent is repealed, lenders can still continue processing personal data of borrowers to collect the debt.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sergei Blagov in Moscow at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

For More Information

The guidance letter is available, in Russian, at http://src.bna.com/tX1.

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