Bank had valid grounds for disclosing information to police

Privacy & confidentiality,
In May 2020, police contacted Edgar's bank seeking copies of his transaction statements to help them locate and arrest him. He had skipped bail while waiting to appear in court on criminal charges
April 2023

Police sought the statements to help them narrow down his location. They told the bank they had serious concerns for Edgar's safety. The bank supplied the statements, along with CCTV footage showing Edgar using an ATM. A few days later, Edgar was arrested. Edgar complained that the bank should not have released the information. He said the information was confidential, and the bank violated that confidentiality by disclosing it.

Our investigation

A customer’s banking information is usually confidential, but a bank can disclose a customer's personal banking information to someone else in a few limited circumstances. One of these is when a bank has reasonable grounds to believe disclosure is necessary to avoid a serious threat to someone's life or health.

We were satisfied the bank had such grounds in Edgar's case. Police told the bank Edgar had emailed his lawyer making a series of veiled suicide threats, and the lawyer had told police about the emails out of concern for Edgar's safety. The bank had not seen the emails, but it did not need to because it had no reason to suspect the police description of the emails might be inaccurate. We concluded the bank had valid grounds for disclosing the information.


We did not uphold Edgar’s complaint.

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