On May 23, the CFPB announced a settlement to resolve allegations that a national bank violated TILA and its implementing Regulation Z, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The Bureau sued the bank in 2020 (covered by InfoBytes here) claiming that, among other things, when servicing credit card accounts, the bank did not properly manage consumer billing disputes for unauthorized card use and billing errors, and did not properly credit refunds to consumer accounts resulting from such disputes. At the time, the bank issued a response stating that it self-identified the issues to the Bureau five years ago while simultaneously correcting any flawed processes.
The bank neither admitted nor denied the allegations but agreed under the terms of the stipulated final judgment and order filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to pay a $9 million civil penalty. In addition to amending its credit card practices, the bank is prohibited from automatically denying billing error notices and claims of unauthorized use of cards should the customer fail to provide a fraud affidavit signed under penalty of perjury. The bank must also (i) credit reimbursable fees and finance charges to a customer’s account when unauthorized use and billing errors occur; (ii) provide required acknowledgement and denial notices to customers upon receipt or resolution of billion error notices; and (iii) provide customers who call its credit counseling hotline with at least three credit counseling referrals within the caller’s state. The bank must also maintain procedures to ensure customers are properly refunded any fees or finance charges identified by valid error notices and unauthorized use claims. The bank issued a statement following the announcement saying that while it “continues to disagree with the CFPB’s stance with respect to these long-resolved issues, which were self-identified and voluntarily addressed years ago,” it is pleased to resolve the matter.