U.S. Bancorp to Pay $57 Million for Unfair-Billing Claims

U.S. Bancorp, the nation’s largest regional lender, agreed to pay $57 million to settle regulatory claims that some of its account holders were unfairly billed for identity-theft protection products.

The lender’s U.S. Bank unit will provide $47.9 million in restitution for more than 420,000 customers, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said in statements today. The bank, which settled without admitting or denying wrongdoing, also will pay fines of $4 million to the OCC and $5 million to the CFPB, they said.

Customers were illegally billed from 2003 through 2012 for identity-theft protections offered through Affinion Group Holdings Inc.’s Trilegiant unit, the agencies said. The accords require U.S. Bancorp to improve its oversight of such third-party vendor relationships.

“We regret that errors occurred when our customers purchased credit-monitoring and identity-theft products from a third-party vendor,” Dana Ripley, a spokesman for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, said in an e-mail. “As soon as we became aware of the issues with Affinion, we took swift action to protect our customers, and ultimately, discontinued our relationship with Affinion approximately two years ago.”

The reimbursements and fines won’t impact future earnings, he said, because they were accounted for in previous quarters.

Implemented Solution

Michael Bush, a spokesman for Affinion, said his company has built and implemented a solution to the concerns outlined by the regulators.

“We have consistently warned companies about practices related to add-on products, and we will do what is necessary to prevent further harm to consumers,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.

The consumer bureau and OCC have reached settlements with other banks for similar missteps with add-on products, including a $783 million agreement with Bank of America Corp. in April and earlier accords with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to change the gender of the bank’s spokesman in the fourth paragraph.)

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