The Independent Community Bankers of America has filed a lawsuit against Equifax in hopes of compensating small banks for a recent data breach that potentially affected more than 140 million people.

The ICBA, which filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a press release that it wants Equifax “to improve its security to avoid additional harm to the consumers and local communities that community banks serve.”

Camden Fine.
The ICBA, led by CEO Cam Fine, wants Equifax to reimburse community banks for costs tied to a recent security breach.

Cybercriminals earlier this year attemped to gain access to personal data, including Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses, for tens of millions of Americans. Credit card numbers for more than 200,000 U.S. consumers were also exposed.

The lawsuit says Equifax should reimburse community banks for a variety of costs, including measures to deter customer identity thefts, deposit and loan account fraud, customer notification, covering fraudulent transactions, and payment card cancellation and replacement. The litigation also asks that the court to require Equifax to have adequate security measures.

Equifax did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

“ICBA and the nation’s community banks are deeply troubled by the massive and preventable data breach at Equifax and its impact on community banks, consumers, small businesses and the economy,” Camden Fine, the group's president and CEO, said in the release.

The lawsuit “demands remedial action because Equifax needs to be held accountable for this massive and preventable catastrophic event,” Fine added.

The $234 million-asset Bank of Zachary in Louisiana and the $187 million-asset First State Bank in Barboursville, W.Va., joined the ICBA in the lawsuit.

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Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart covers community banks and mergers and acquisitions for American Banker.