Two more state credit union groups – the Nebraska Credit Union League and the Mountain West CU Association – have formally joined the class action lawsuit against Equifax in response to its massive data breach.
Earlier this year, hackers breached the Equifax system over the course of approximately two months and reportedly gained access to Social Security numbers, current and past addresses, birthdates, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers of 143 million Americans. Also included in the compromise was the payment card information of 200,000 consumers, the Nebraska CU League noted.
“The Equifax breach has harmed and will continue to harm our credit unions and their members,” Scott Sullivan, CEO of the Nebraska CU League, said in a statement. “We refuse to sit idly by as our credit unions begin to bear the long-term financial cost and personnel burden from Equifax’s breach and are pleased to join with the Credit Union National Association in taking this action on our members behalf. This is yet another example of the value of the interdependent CUNA/League system.”
The Mountain West CU Association, which represents credit unions in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, echoed those sentiments.
“We have not seen a data breach of this magnitude before and the potential impacts to credit unions and their members are unprecedented,” said Scott Earl, president/CEO of MWCUA. “The Association joined this suit both to help protect our affiliated credit unions and to hold Equifax accountable for the fallout from this breach. Protecting members is a top priority of all credit unions. We may not know the full impact of this extensive breach for years. The costs to credit unions will be significant.”
LSCU joined Army Aviation Center FCU last week
With two more associations/leagues joining Tuesday, officials at CUNA said they believed seven leagues now have joined the class action lawsuit. The League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates joined the suit on Oct. 26, following a special meeting by the league's board. The LSCU represents 252 credit unions and more than 7.5 million credit union members in Alabama and Florida. Those CUs have a combined total of $83 billion in assets.
“The extent of this breach and potential effect on credit unions and their members is unprecedented,” said Patrick La Pine, president/CEO of the LSCU & Affiliates. “The League is joining this suit as a protection measure for our affiliated credit unions and to hold Equifax accountable for negligence and the damages that will ensue. Protecting members is a top priority of all credit unions. This massive breach has the potential for negative repercussions for many years to come. The costs to credit unions will be significant.”
Previously, LSCU-affiliated credit union Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Daleville, Ala., became a lead plaintiff in the suit to protect its $1.2 billion in assets and almost 100,0000 members.
Penn. joins Wednesday
Early on Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Pennsylvania CU Association became the eighth state league to join the suit,
According to a press release from the league, the PCUA Board of Directors’ decision to join the lawsuit came after management conducted a thorough due diligence that determined credit unions and other financial institutions will likely bear long-term costs as a result of the breach. These costs include canceling and reissuing an untold number of compromised cards, reimbursing consumers for fraudulent charges, increasing fraudulent activity monitoring, taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk of identity theft and fraudulent loans, sustaining reputational harm, and notifying consumers of potential fraudulent activity.
“We believe it is our responsibility to protect credit unions and their members, that have recognized financial losses as a result of the Equifax data breach,” PCUA President & CEO Patrick Conway said in a statement “Representing credit unions in this manner will ensure they have a voice as Equifax is held accountable for current damages, future losses, and data security risks.”
This story was updated at 4:15 P.M. on Wed., Nov. 1.