WASHINGTON Banking and insurance trade groups say they are optimistic that federal regulators will give financial institutions involved in insurance sales an extra six months to begin warning consumers that these products are not federally insured.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act told regulators to write rules requiring banks and thrifts that advertise, solicit, or sell insurance to warn consumers that, unlike their bank accounts, these products are not federally insured. Regulators issued those rules in November, telling financial companies to start alerting consumers by April 1. But in a letter last month, bank and insurance trade groups asked regulators to extend the starting date to Oct. 1.
Absent such a delay, it will be impossible for many institutions to comply with the regulation, the letter said.
It was signed by the American Bankers Association Insurance Association, the American Bankers Association, the Association of Banks-in-Insurance, and the Consumer Bankers Association and was sent to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
After sending the letter, industry representatives met with agency staff members to reiterate the need for an extension, said Beth L. Climo, executive director of American Bankers Association Insurance Association. The agency people were very positive and encouraging, Ms. Climo said, so were optimistic well get an extension.
But spokesmen for all the agencies said that no decision on delaying the warning rules starting date has been made. Were taking the request under consideration, a Fed spokesman said Monday.
The trade groups also complained that regulators are applying the new rules to insurance products that do not have investment risk, such as credit insurance, but I dont anticipate well get any relief there, Ms. Climo said.