March 18, 2014

CUs need access to death master file, NAFCU urges

March 19, 2014 – NAFCU Regulatory Affairs Counsel Angela Meyster yesterday asked the National Technical Information Service to assure continued access to the death master file, or DMF, during a rulemaking process addressing disclosures.

The DMF is a computer database at the Social Security Administration that tracks people whose deaths have been reported to the agency. Meyster, in a letter Tuesday, noted that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 regulates the disclosure of information from the database and says disclosures can only be made to entities NTIS has certified to receive them. Meyster wrote in response to NTIS' request for information in advance of a public meeting on the certification process.

"It is paramount that the NTIS grant uninterrupted access to DMF information during the time that it finalizes its certification regulations and conducts its initial rounds of certification," Meyster wrote. "Failure to do so would leave credit unions unable to prevent many types of fraudulent transactions that threaten their members' financial security and make them unable to best serve their members' financial needs. The NTIS should utilize its rulemaking authority to issue an interim final rule that would establish continuity of access while giving the NTIS time to review commentary and formulate a final rule."

Meyster added that DMF information is crucial to credit unions' ability to properly serve their members and deal with members' estates.

Nineteen senators and two congressmen also wrote a letter on this subject last week to the Office of Management and Budget, asking for businesses and individuals using DMF information for "legitimate purposes that serve the public interest" to have continued access to the database while the certification process is being examined.