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Mortgage Document Retention and Destruction

Keeping consumers’ confidential information private is critical to fighting identity theft. Such information includes, but is not limited to, Social Security numbers, employer identification numbers, driver’s license or state identification numbers, passport numbers, financial information such as a checking, savings, credit or debit card numbers, personal identification numbers (PIN), digital signatures, biometric data, fingerprints, or any number that can be used to access financial resources.

Disposing of a consumer’s confidential information in an unsecure manner is illegal under North Carolina’s Identity Theft Protection Act. This law requires businesses that operate in North Carolina or possess such information for North Carolina residents to protect that information from unauthorized access or use. Even dated records containing personal and financial information must be disposed of properly. Businesses may, subject to compliance with the Identity Theft Protection Act, contract with document destruction companies for this purpose. For more information on identity theft, visit

Mortgage brokers, lenders, and servicers are required to “keep the accounts, correspondence, memoranda, papers, books, and other records as prescribed in rules adopted by the Commissioner. All records shall be preserved for three years unless the Commissioner, by rule, prescribes otherwise for particular types of records.” N.C.G.S. § 53-244.105. In addition, the North Carolina Administrative Code at 04 NCAC 03M .0502 provides that such records “shall be secured against unauthorized access and damage in an accessible location within the State of North Carolina.”

In the event of a data breach, each item of confidential information may be considered a separate violation. Civil penalties of up to $25,000 may be assessed for each violation of the NC SAFE Act.