Bankers may have a magic bullet in the battle with states over financial privacy laws.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act bars states, until Jan. 1, 2004, from restricting how a bank shares customer information within its corporate family. A 1996 change to the Fair Credit law permitted banks to share information from loan applications and credit bureau reports with affiliates, as long as they notify customers first and give them an opportunity to block, or opt out of, marketing efforts.

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