All mortgage brokers and sub mortgage brokers must take reasonable steps to ensure that client information is kept safe from access by persons who are not authorized by the client to have access to their personal information. The Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) mandates that as mortgage brokers and sub mortgage brokers we keep for seven years, all records relating to each mortgage transaction or potential mortgage transaction in which the mortgage broker is involved.
I take keeping clients personal information privacy and protection very seriously and it’s something I think every mortgage broker should pay particular attention to in their day to day operation of business.
While many of the processes I have in place might sound just like common sense I am constantly amazed when I read article in the newspapers about security breaches at brokerages and when personal files are just thrown away.
Protecting client information and identity should be a top priority and as our businesses become more mobile, paperless and cloud based I wanted to share some of the procedure I have put in place to do so.
- Password protect all computers and mobile devices: If you are like me, you do most of your work on a laptop and you may even have an iPad or iPhone. As more and more clients are scanning us documents via email make sure you password protect any device that can potentially hold personal client information.
- Secure Online Storage: All client documentation pertaining to a mortgage application is uploaded to Filogix Exchange. Exchange is a document management solution for electronically managing all of your deal documentation and facilitating transmission to the Lender. Exchange exceeds security and regulatory standards and ensures your data is always protected.
- Keeping Active Files Safe: While I strive to be as paperless as possible there are times when a clients file will have some physical paper. When working with an active file it’s imperative to keep those physical safeguarded. As more and more brokers work from home it’s important to remember to have the proper safeguards in place there as well. Lock all files in a secure filing cabinet when not in use and keep your home office door locked when not at home.
- Transporting Client Files: While most client information is kept secure on my laptop or Exchange there is times when we are meeting clients throughout the day and will obtain personal information or documentation from them. It’s important to remember to not leave this information in your car even if it’s locked.
- Shredding Paper Documentation: After I ensure that any all documentation pertaining to a mortgage application has been uploaded to secure online storage, it is properly shredded and disposed of. This not only saves on storage space but more importantly better protects clients personal information.
If there’s something in particular that you have implemented as a mortgage broker that helps protect client information I’d appreciate you sharing in the comments below.
You may also wish to consult the websites of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia at http://www.oipcbc.org/ and the Office of the Privacy Commission of Canada at http://www.priv.gc.ca/ for further information.