The “Banking Secret”, the Right to Privacy, and the Banks’ Duty to Confidentiality
Banks are obliged to maintain confidentiality about their business relationships with customers and about their customers’ accounts. They must preserve banking secrecy or the “banking secret” (Bankgeheimnis) as it is called in German. First and foremost, the “banking secret” is just a subtype of the non-disclosure of facts communicated under confidentiality, and of the general class of professional and business secrets that are equally familiar from the medical profession, for instance, or from brokerage activities in the case of insider knowledge discussed earlier. Banking secrecy is the banking industry’s own brand of professional confidentiality and trade secrecy. Any knowledge the bank comes by in the course of the business relationship must not be used for insider gain, a principle that follows from the fiduciary duty; nor must it be passed to others or publicly disclosed.
KeywordsMoney Laundering Banking Secrecy Private Sphere Economic Ethic Swiss Citizen
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