Acxiom, PricewaterhouseCoopers Combine Strengths

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Acxiom Corp., a customer data integration vendor, and PricewaterhouseCoopers yesterday formed a strategic alliance to help financial institutions comply with the short deadline of the mandatory privacy regulations of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act while at the same time improve customer relationships and consumer trust.

The act became effective Nov. 12 and requires financial institutions to give customers notice of corporate privacy policy as well as a choice about how an individual's private information is used. The deadline for full compliance is July 1.

The alliance is specifically between Acxiom, Little Rock, AK, and the Global Risk Management Services Division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York.

Under the alliance, the division will conduct an initial assessment of a financial institution's consumer privacy compliance needs.

Then, Acxiom and PricewaterhouseCoopers will work on a joint design and implementation using AbiliTec, Acxiom's CDI software that helps companies create a single view of their customers across the enterprise, as the compliance enabler and consumer preference solution. This lets the company view their whole relationship with a customer, allowing it to meet the requirements of the law and help prevent duplication on privacy notices or other information sent.

Once the system is in place and approved, PricewaterhouseCoopers will test it.

"Institutions that do not comply with the law could face stiff penalties and regulatory action as well as loss of consumer trust," said Jennifer Barrett, Acxiom's privacy leader. "However, the typical financial institution offers an array of different products and services, generally from a host of locations, to thousands -- if not millions -- of customers. Data is often fragmented and housed in disparate data silos across the enterprise. Different lines of business do not always interact with each other. Yet the institution must develop a privacy policy that comprises the full depth and breadth of its corporate identity."

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