Attorney General Charity Clark today joined a coalition of 50 attorneys general from 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia in announcing a settlement with payment processor ACI Worldwide over a 2021 testing error that led to the unauthorized withdrawal of $2.3 billion from mortgage-holders nationwide. Under the settlement, ACI will pay a total of $10 million to the states, of which Vermont will receive $20,000, and the company must take several steps to avoid any future incidents. ACI has also entered into a separate multistate settlement totaling $10 million with state financial regulators, including the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation.
ACI Payments, a subsidiary of ACI Worldwide Corp., is a payment processor for a variety of third-party clients, including mortgage servicers. Nationstar Mortgage, known publicly as Mr. Cooper, offered ACI’s Speedpay product to its customers so that customers could schedule and electronically pay their monthly mortgage payments through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. On April 23, 2021, ACI was testing the Speedpay platform when it erroneously submitted live Mr. Cooper consumer data into the ACH system. This resulted in ACI erroneously attempting to withdraw mortgage payments from hundreds of thousands of Mr. Cooper customers. In many cases, consumers were subjected to the attempted withdrawal of multiple mortgage payments from their personal bank accounts.
While the vast majority of withdrawals did not ultimately go through or were reversed, 1.4 million transactions totaling $2.3 billion were processed, impacting 477,000 Mr. Cooper customers, including 577 Vermonters. While ACI took corrective steps to minimize the impact of the testing error, in some cases consumers were not able to access the money at issue and were forced to incur overdraft or insufficient funds fees. Impacted consumers have received restitution from ACI and through other related settlements.
The coalition’s investigation determined that the April 2021 incident was possible due to significant defects in ACI’s privacy and data security procedures and technical infrastructure related to the Speedpay platform. In addition to the payment to the states, today’s settlement requires ACI to take steps to avoid any future incidents, including requiring ACI to use artificially created data rather than real consumer data when testing systems or software and requiring ACI to segregate any testing or development work from its consumer payment systems.
Vermonters affected by ACI’s testing error may wish to submit claim forms in connection with a class action settlement and must do so by November 13, 2023. More information on the class action settlement is available at https://achloanpaymentlitigation.com/.
A copy of the settlement agreement is available here.
CONTACT: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171