Two Upcoming Seminars Offer Credit Unions Insights into the Latest HR and Compliance Legal Issues

Strategic Link partner, Farleigh Wada Witt, discusses overdraft fee litigation and shares recommendations to guide credit unions.

4/23/2019

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Two upcoming seminars will offer Northwest credit unions solutions to the latest legal issues in two areas.

The HR Legal Update Seminar will focus on innovative strategies that advance human resources objectives throughout the organization. It’s scheduled for May 16 at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. MDT.

The Compliance Legal Update Seminar, June 13 at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT, will provide an analysis of compliance issues from a legal standpoint.

Both seminars are presented by Farleigh Wada Witt, a business law firm and Strategic Link partner that operates with a depth of credit union-specific knowledge and experience that is unmatched.

One area of the law firm’s expertise, overdraft fee litigation, is a hot topic among credit unions. Below, Farleigh Wada Witt offers an overview of the issue, and makes observations and recommendations to guide credit unions on best practices.

Overdraft Fee Litigation Threats

Credit unions are again in the crosshairs of plaintiffs launching threats of overdraft fee litigation. Such litigation is not new to credit unions, but the latest wave includes two new claims.

In one, plaintiffs claim that credit unions violate their own agreements and disclosures when a check that has been returned NSF is presented for payment a second time against insufficient funds and a second fee is charged. In their simplistic view, plaintiffs see multiple fees for one NSF check and attack the fee disclosures that reference fees are charged on a “per item” basis as an overcharge violation.

A second claim is that credit unions are double dipping by charging a fee based on both available balance and actual balance. The specific claim is that credit unions are impermissibly charging fees first when items are paid after a debit purchase hold is placed (because the intervening items create a negative available balance) and second,  when the debit card transaction clears. 

Credit unions must understand these issues and carefully review their disclosures, policies, and practices for necessary updates. References to NSF fees charged “per item” should be clarified and multiple fee provisions added. Also, credit unions should carefully review their practices on how debit purchase transactions are handled when a debit authorization hold has caused a fee for an intervening transaction. 

To learn more about Strategic Link’s partnership with Farleigh Wada Witt, visit its webpage.