Bank reaches $5.2 million settlement in ATM fee class action
On February 3, consolidated class members filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a settlement agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to resolve allegations that a national bank breached its account agreement by assessing balance inquiry fees in certain circumstances. Class members, comprised of current and former account holders, claimed that the bank assessed fees if account holders used an ATM outside of the bank’s network (non-bank ATM) to check their balances. The class also alleged that the bank assessed multiple fees if a balance inquiry was undertaken “during the same ATM visit as a cash withdrawal or other funds transfer.” As a result of the action, the bank modified its account disclosures to “better inform its customers that they could be charged a fee for a balance inquiry” at a non-bank ATM. The preliminary settlement seeks to certify class members who were assessed the contested fees from January 1, 2010 through October 31, 2018 and will not require class members to file claims to receive the settlement’s benefits. Under the preliminary settlement terms, the bank will pay $5.2 million into a common fund, and has agreed to analyze its historical transaction data to identify settlement class members and automatically credit settlement proceeds into their accounts via direct deposit.