Credit unions sue Equifax over massive data breach

Want to recover anticipated costs of breach

The number of battlefronts where Equifax will be forced to fight back in the wake of its massive data breach just grew, again.

The credit reporting agency is already facing inquiries from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, the House Financial Services Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the New York Department of Financial Services, a lawsuit from the state of Massachusetts, a lawsuit from the city of San Francisco, and a lawsuit from the city of Chicago.

And now, the Credit Union National Association, a trade group that represents credit unions, is joining Massachusetts, San Francisco, and Chicago in suing Equifax, on behalf of its members.

The lawsuit, which was filed the lawsuit earlier this week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeks to recover the costs borne by credit unions in the aftermath of the breach.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are the Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union, the Greater Cincinnati Credit Union, and CUNA.

“We filed this lawsuit because our member credit unions are very concerned with the effects of this breach, everything from re-issuing compromised cards to adding uncertainty to the loan underwriting process,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle said. “Credit unions will bear substantial costs dealing with the fallout from this breach, and this lawsuit is a step toward recouping those costs.”

In the lawsuit, the credit unions state that Equifax’s “negligent handling” of consumers’ personal information, which led to the exposure of 145.5 million consumers’ information in the breach, will lead to “financial harms” for financial institutions.

“These costs include, but are not limited to, canceling and reissuing an untold number of compromised credit and debit cards, reimbursing customers for fraudulent charges, increasing fraudulent activity monitoring, taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk of identity theft and fraudulent loans and other banking activity, sustaining reputational harm, and notifying customers of potential fraudulent activity,” the credit unions state in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not establish a specific dollar amount that the credit unions are seeking.

To read the credit unions’ full lawsuit, click here.

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