The Clearing House Releases Model Agreement to Help Facilitate Safe Sharing of Financial Data

Today, The Clearing House (TCH) is releasing a Model Agreement to help financial institutions and fintech companies establish legal terms for the sharing of bank-held consumer data. Developed with input from TCH member banks, non-bank financial institutions and fintechs, the Model Agreement is intended to accelerate the legal review process during negotiations and ensure that key data security requirements are understood.

The Model Agreement is meant to provide a common foundation of generally accepted terms as a starting point to facilitate data-access agreements between banks and fintechs, reducing the need to negotiate the same terms each time they enter into an agreement. Use of the agreement is voluntary and parties can independently negotiate any elements they feel are appropriate.

In addition to addressing key considerations for banks and fintechs, the Model Agreement is aligned with the CFPB’s Consumer Protection Principles: Consumer-Authorized Financial Data Sharing and Aggregation. These principles focus on consumer control and transparency, safety and security of bank-held data, and appropriate accountability for any risks introduced into the financial system.

“The Model Agreement provides a framework for how banks and fintechs can work together to implement the CFPB’s principles,” said Rob Hunter, Deputy General Counsel at TCH. “We look forward to continuing efforts to facilitate the efficient and safe sharing of consumer data.”

The Model Agreement is part of TCH’s Connected Banking initiative, which aims to facilitate innovation and customer control and the secure exchange of bank-held data. A key focus of the initiative is developing a model focused on direct connections, known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), between banks and fintechs. The Clearing House is a founding member of Financial Data Exchange and encourages the use of FDX API for secure and transparent data sharing.

“APIs have the potential to significantly benefit consumers, but the lengthy process to reach an agreement can become a bottleneck to API adoption,” said Hunter. “Using the Model Agreement as a reference to facilitate API agreements can streamline and accelerate the adoption of API technology.”

The Model Agreement will be modified as circumstances warrant, and its use is voluntary. It is intended to facilitate negotiations, and avoids taking any positions on commercial terms, which parties will need to discuss and agree upon themselves. TCH welcomes input that could improve future versions and will incorporate modifications that consider evolutions in technology and other relevant developments.

To view the Model Agreement and provide feedback, visit https://www.theclearinghouse.org/connected-banking/model-agreement.