ATM Vigilante Withdraws Cash From CU EFTA Suit

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BURTON, Mich. – A Michigan retiree who has sued more than three dozen credit unions and banks over the surcharge fee notification requirements of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act has convinced ELGA CU to settle one suit by paying as much as $76,000 to non-members who used six of its ATMs that lacked the mandated external notice of a surcharge.

ELGA, one of the growing number of credit unions being hit with EFTA suits, said in court papers detailing the settlement, an estimated 2,269 non-member cardholders who used one of the six cash machines a total of 2,943 times between April 16, 2009 and Sept. 3, 2009, may be eligible for the payments up to $250 each, and Nancy Kinder, of nearby Fowlerville, Mich., who brought the suit, will receive $1,000. Cardholders must submit a claim by Aug. 8.

The $275 million credit union is the latest target institution to agree to terms with Kinder. Independent Bank, which operates 40 ATMs in Michigan, agreed earlier this year to pay $350,000 to settle her EFTA claims.

Kinder and her partner Ray Harrison, who fancy themselves as ATM vigilantes, have been driving around the country for the past three years with camera in hand to record ATMs they say are in violation of the ten-year-old EFTA which requires credit unions and banks to post notice either “on or at the ATM” that non-customers will be assessed a surcharge for withdrawing cash at the machine.

Kinder is the name plaintiff in 28 different suits in federal court in Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Mexico, Arkansas and Indiana, over the past three years, with four filed most recently the same day, on July 22. 

She has suits pending against: FirstLight FCU, Chino FCU, White Sands FCU, AAC Community CU, Jackson Community FCU, Michigan Schools and Government CU, Lenco CU, Jackson County CU and Northwood CU, among others.


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