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Kelly Kennedy 608/266-7876
Madison – Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced today that her office has settled lawsuits against two out-of-state banks for failing to register with the Department of Financial Institutions and pay fees as required by Wisconsin law. The settlements resolve lawsuits against 1st Financial Bank U.S.A., a South Dakota bank, and SunTrust Bank, a Georgia bank. A third case against Virginia-based Capital One Bank remains pending. All three cases were brought in Dane County Circuit Court.
The lawsuits alleged that the banks were required to register because they extend credit to Wisconsin residents. Under the terms of the settlement, 1st Financial must pay the state a total of $43,142.80 in forfeitures, assessments, and costs, for failing to register beginning in 1999. The settlement was approved by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi.
SunTrust Bank, which had previously registered and paid the required fees, was over a year late in registering and paying fees for 2003. When notified of its failure, SunTrust promptly registered and paid the outstanding fees. Under its settlement with the state, SunTrust is paying forfeitures, assessments, and costs totaling $10,107. The SunTrust settlement has been approved by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Niess.
According to Attorney General Lautenschlager, “The settlements in these cases reinforce the importance of complying with Wisconsin’s banking regulations, which are designed to protect the state’s consumers. Vigorous enforcement of the law is necessary to eliminate unfairness to the vast majority of credit grantors that comply with the law.”
Assistant Attorney General John Greene represented the state in the cases, with investigative assistance provided by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.