PARKERSBURG, Md. – Rapid settlements between two local credit unions and a Michigan retiree who has sued 37 credit unions and banks over the ATM disclosures the Electronic Funds Transfer Act earned the so-called ATM vigilante small cash settlements, according to individuals familiar with the cases.
Under separate settlements with Mountain Heritage FCU and Ravenswood FCU the two credit unions paid Nancy Kinder, the Michigan retiree who brought the suits, $1,000 and agreed to pay legal fees incurred by Kinder, as well as $250 to any consumer who may have used the ATMs where Kinder noticed there was no placard notifying the amount of fees to be paid by non-members.
The settlements came less than two months after the suits were first filed.
The settlement is expected to cost Mountain Heritage, the one-time credit union for the Internal Revenue Service in West Virginia, less than $15,000, which was paid by its insurer CUNA Mutual Group.
But in at least one of the settlements, Mountain Heritage, the payment may have amounted to a bargain because the $30 million credit union has 11 ATMs and none of them had the proper disclosure on the outside of the machine, according to sources. That means the credit union could have been subject to administrative fines and consumer suits for all 11 of its ATMs, instead of the single machine cited by Michigan’s Kinder.
Kinder, who has travelled the country and filed ATM suits in more than a dozen states, has entered into similar deals with several Michigan credit unions and banks. In recent weeks Kinder has settled separate ATM suits with Lenco CU and AAC Community CU in Michigan and First Southern National Bank and Central Bank and Trust, both in Kentucky.
She has also struck settlements with Sunrise Family CU, ELGA CU, Michigan Schools and Government CU, Jackson Community CU, Northwood CU, Chino FCU, White Sands FCU and FirstLight FCU, and numerous banks.
A lawyer representing Kinder in both West Virginia cases declined a telephone and an email request to comment.