Files on 13,000 HBOS customers stolen from bank rep's car
CONFIDENTIAL information on 13,000 Halifax customers was stolen from one of its salespeople's cars, it emerged last night.
The bank - Britain's biggest mortgage lender - said the salesperson had left a briefcase containing paper files on the customers in the car, which was then broken into.
The company, part of the banking group HBOS, has instituted a "thorough review" of its procedures in a bid to prevent a repeat. Police and the Financial Services Authority were informed "at the earliest possible opportunity."
In a statement, Halifax insisted that the files contained only "mortgage account" information.
The company said it did not include any bank account details, PINs, passwords or details of financial transactions.
However, around 1,800 of the relevant customer records included a name, address, mortgage account number and balance. The remainder of the records - the vast majority - listed the customer's name, mortgage account number and approval status.
The theft comes at a time of increasing concern at the use of people's private details for identify theft.
The salesperson was a 'broker consultant', whose job includes seeking to persuade mortgage brokers to sell Halifax products. The files were used for 'liaison' with mortgage brokers.
Shane O'Riordain, general manager, group communications, for the bank said Halifax believed it was "highly unlikely" the information could be used for fraudulent purposes.
He said: "Naturally we will be writing to all of these customers to inform them. Halifax stands behind its customers. Therefore in the very unlikely event of fraudulent activity, they will be compensated."