WASHINGTON — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced Friday that CompuCredit Corp. will pay $116 million and reform its practices to settle charges the Atlanta marketing firm misled subprime credit card users.
CompuCredit is to supply $114 million of credits to help customers pay fees regulators say the company did not properly disclose. It will also pay $2.4 million in civil money penalties and give cash refunds to some customers.
The FDIC and Federal Trade Commission initially sought $150 million from the company in June, claiming that CompuCredit and three banks that had used its marketing were tricking customers into opening accounts with deceptive credit limits.
The regulators alleged that solicitations boasted a $300 credit card limit but failed to mention that customers would be charged up to $185 in up-front fees, cutting their credit limit to $115.
Columbus Bank and Trust, a $6 billion-asset subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp., settled with the FDIC in June for $2.4 million, but CompuCredit and the other two banks indicated then that they would fight the charges.
In October, regulators announced that $118 million-asset First Bank of Delaware had agreed to a cease-and-desist order and would pay as much as $1 million in fines. No settlement has been reached with $794 million-asset First Bank and Trust in Brookings, S.D.
The settlement with CompuCredit also includes a cease-and-desist order requiring that it revise its solicitations to better explain credit limits and up-front fees.
The two banks that settled with the FDIC agreed to similar measures, including that they improve oversight of third-party affiliates.
An institution's management is "ultimately responsible for managing activities conducted through third-party relationships … to the same extent as if the activity were handled within the institution," Thomas Curry, a member of the FDIC's board of directors, said in a press release.
The order also requires CompuCredit to submit a plan for how it will ensure consumer protection compliance in marketing programs for credit cards issued by FDIC-supervised banks.
In the release, the FDIC said that, though the marketing company had agreed to the order, it "does not admit or deny any liability."
"We are pleased to have reached this settlement with the FDIC and the FTC in order to resolve their concerns regarding the company's past marketing practices," David Hanna, CompuCredit's chairman and chief executive officer, said in an e-mailed statement.