DETROIT (4/25/12)--Two Michigan credit unions, ACC Community CU in Grand Rapids and Lenco CU in Adrian, have settled separate ATM class-action lawsuits brought by area retiree Nancy Kinder who has filed nearly 40 lawsuits against credit unions and banks under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA).
The ACC Community case was settled in U.S District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The Lenco CU case was in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Michigan couple Nancy Kinder and Ray Harrison of Fowlerville, Mich., who are both retirees--have driven around the country looking for ATMs without proper fee notification signs. The two then photographed ATMs that lack legal signage and filed class actions against the credit unions and banks that own the ATMs, saying that nondisclosure of fees for ATM transactions violates EFTA, according to court records. In 2010 and 2011, Kinder and Harrison filed dozens of lawsuits in Michigan, New Mexico and Texas (News Now May 24).
The EFTA requires ATM owners to post a fee notice on the outside of their machines. As stated in the settlement documents filed with the court, both credit unions dispute that the plaintiffs have suffered any actual harm or damages as a result of the absence of an on-machine posted fee notice, and acknowledge that the ATMs are equipped with on-screen fee notices that permit the customer to cancel the transaction before incurring a fee.
However, given the expense of litigation, both credit unions agreed to settle the cases against them. Under the settlement, both credit unions have agreed to pay nonmember users of specific ATMs up to $250 to settle EFTA violations.
Each credit union also will pay $1,000 to Kinder, and $15,000 in legal fees. Lenco CU has agreed to set aside $23,500 to satisfy the claims of up to 1,155 potential claimants--based on the number of nonmember transactions that took place at a specific credit union ATM in Adrian between April 19, 210 and April 18, 2011. Each nonmember withdrawing from that ATM is eligible for a pro-rata share of the settlement fund, but no claimant may receive more than a $250 payment.
After all individual claims have been settled, any money remaining in the settlement fund--up to $5,000--will be donated to Kinder's designated charity--the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
ACC Community CU agreed to put aside $27,000 to satisfy the claims of up to 1,844 claimants, which is based on the number of nonmember transactions that took place at ACC's ATMs in three locations between April 26, 2010 and April 25, 2011. Each nonmember withdrawing from that ATM is eligible for a pro-rata share of the settlement fund, but no claimant may receive more than a $250 payment. Any funds remaining after the claimants are paid--up to $7,000--will be donated to Kinder's designated charity--the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
In both cases, after all claims have been satisfied, and any charitable contribution up to the allowed amounts have been paid, any remaining funds will go back to the credit union or CUNA Mutual Group, which is its insurer. CUNA Mutual, under its bond, is funding the settlement.