§ 1002.12 Record retention.
(a) Retention of prohibited information. A creditor may retain in its files information that is prohibited by the Act or this part for use in evaluating applications, without violating the Act or this part, if the information was obtained:
1. Receipt of prohibited information. Unless the creditor specifically requested such information, a creditor does not violate this section when it receives prohibited information from a consumer reporting agency.
2. Use of retained information. Although a creditor may keep in its files prohibited information as provided in § 1002.12(a), the creditor may use the information in evaluating credit applications only if permitted to do so by § 1002.6.
(1) From any source prior to March 23, 1977;
(2) From consumer reporting agencies, an applicant, or others without the specific request of the creditor; or
(3) As required to monitor compliance with the Act and this part or other Federal or state statutes or regulations.
(b) Preservation of records —
1. Copies. Copies of the original record include carbon copies, photocopies, microfilm or microfiche copies, or copies produced by any other accurate retrieval system, such as documents stored and reproduced by computer. A creditor that uses a computerized or mechanized system need not keep a paper copy of a document (for example, of an adverse action notice) if it can regenerate all pertinent information in a timely manner for examination or other purposes.
2. Computerized decisions. A creditor that enters information items from a written application into a computerized or mechanized system and makes the credit decision mechanically, based only on the items of information entered into the system, may comply with § 1002.12(b) by retaining the information actually entered. It is not required to store the complete written application, nor is it required to enter the remaining items of information into the system. If the transaction is subject to § 1002.13 or the creditor is collecting information pursuant to § 1002.5(a)(4), however, the creditor is required to enter and retain the data on personal characteristics in order to comply with the requirements of that section.
(1) Applications. For 25 months (12 months for business credit, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section) after the date that a creditor notifies an applicant of action taken on an application or of incompleteness, the creditor shall retain in original form or a copy thereof:
(i) Any application that it receives, any information required to be obtained concerning characteristics of the applicant to monitor compliance with the Act and this part or other similar law, any information obtained pursuant to § 1002.5(a)(4), and any other written or recorded information used in evaluating the application and not returned to the applicant at the applicant's request.
(ii) A copy of the following documents if furnished to the applicant in written form (or, if furnished orally, any notation or memorandum made by the creditor):
(A) The notification of action taken; and
(B) The statement of specific reasons for adverse action; and
(iii) Any written statement submitted by the applicant alleging a violation of the Act or this part.
(2) Existing accounts. For 25 months (12 months for business credit, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section) after the date that a creditor notifies an applicant of adverse action regarding an existing account, the creditor shall retain as to that account, in original form or a copy thereof:
(i) Any written or recorded information concerning the adverse action; and
(ii) Any written statement submitted by the applicant alleging a violation of the Act or this part.
(3) Other applications. For 25 months (12 months for business credit, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section) after the date that a creditor receives an application for which the creditor is not required to comply with the notification requirements of § 1002.9, the creditor shall retain all written or recorded information in its possession concerning the applicant, including any notation of action taken.
1. Withdrawn and brokered applications. In most cases, the 25-month retention period for applications runs from the date a notification is sent to the applicant granting or denying the credit requested. In certain transactions, a creditor is not obligated to provide a notice of the action taken. (See, for example, comment 9-2.) In such cases, the 25-month requirement runs from the date of application, as when:
i. An application is withdrawn by the applicant.
ii. An application is submitted to more than one creditor on behalf of the applicant, and the application is approved by one of the other creditors.
(4) Enforcement proceedings and investigations. A creditor shall retain the information beyond 25 months (12 months for business credit, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section) if the creditor has actual notice that it is under investigation or is subject to an enforcement proceeding for an alleged violation of the Act or this part, by the Attorney General of the United States or by an enforcement agency charged with monitoring that creditor's compliance with the Act and this part, or if it has been served with notice of an action filed pursuant to section 706 of the Act and § 1002.16 of this part. The creditor shall retain the information until final disposition of the matter, unless an earlier time is allowed by order of the agency or court.
(5) Special rule for certain business credit applications. With regard to a business that had gross revenues in excess of $1 million in its preceding fiscal year, or an extension of trade credit, credit incident to a factoring agreement, or other similar types of business credit, the creditor shall retain records for at least 60 days after notifying the applicant of the action taken. If within that time period the applicant requests in writing the reasons for adverse action or that records be retained, the creditor shall retain records for 12 months.
(6) Self-tests. For 25 months after a self-test (as defined in § 1002.15) has been completed, the creditor shall retain all written or recorded information about the self-test. A creditor shall retain information beyond 25 months if it has actual notice that it is under investigation or is subject to an enforcement proceeding for an alleged violation, or if it has been served with notice of a civil action. In such cases, the creditor shall retain the information until final disposition of the matter, unless an earlier time is allowed by the appropriate agency or court order.
1. The rule requires all written or recorded information about a self-test to be retained for 25 months after a self-test has been completed. For this purpose, a self-test is completed after the creditor has obtained the results and made a determination about what corrective action, if any, is appropriate. Creditors are required to retain information about the scope of the self-test, the methodology used and time period covered by the self-test, the report or results of the self-test including any analysis or conclusions, and any corrective action taken in response to the self-test.
(7) Prescreened solicitations. For 25 months after the date on which an offer of credit is made to potential customers (12 months for business credit, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section), the creditor shall retain in original form or a copy thereof:
1. Prescreened credit solicitations. The rule requires creditors to retain copies of prescreened credit solicitations. For purposes of this part, a prescreened solicitation is an “offer of credit” as described in 15 U.S.C. 1681a(1) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A creditor complies with this rule if it retains a copy of each solicitation mailing that contains different terms, such as the amount of credit offered, annual percentage rate, or annual fee.
2. List of criteria. A creditor must retain the list of criteria used to select potential recipients. This includes the criteria used by the creditor both to determine the potential recipients of the particular solicitation and to determine who will actually be offered credit.
3. Correspondence. A creditor may retain correspondence relating to consumers' complaints about prescreened solicitations in any manner that is reasonably accessible and is understandable to examiners. There is no requirement to establish a separate database or set of files for such correspondence, or to match consumer complaints with specific solicitation programs.
(i) The text of any prescreened solicitation;
(ii) The list of criteria the creditor used to select potential recipients of the solicitation; and
(iii) Any correspondence related to complaints (formal or informal) about the solicitation.