Print Friendly and PDF








Amy K Says, "If you have a website - pay attention!"
Story ID:8812  
Date Posted:  October 12, 2017


by Amy Kleinschmit, VP Compliance

In the headlines again – nine more credit unions sued because their website is allegedly failing to meet accessibility standards with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This comes on the heels of more than 32 active lawsuits in California and others cropping up across the country.

Don’t assume your website developer or website host is ensuring that your credit union’s website is compliant with anything, let alone website accessibility standards under the ADA. Most contracts for website development and hosting put those responsibilities back on the credit union.

It is estimated that demand letters are starting at $18,500 per credit union, with settlements ranging between $12,000 and $15,000. Those credit unions that have litigated are looking at $100,000 in attorney fees! Bottom line: this is too costly to ignore.

In a recent CUNA Mutual Group Risk Alert, they advise that if your credit union receives a demand letter; policyholders should immediately report it to CUNA Mutual Group’s Third Party Litigation to review coverage and develop appropriate next steps.

Earlier this year I came across a white paper on website accessibility from a local law firm in town (Sioux Falls) that is worth your time for a quick review. The white paper discusses some background on the issue, including why credit unions should care about website accessibility issues along with including a short checklist.

Can you really be sued for website accessibility issues?

When inquiries about accessibility compliance skyrocketed this year, Sioux Falls law firm Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith partnered with Click Rain, a Sioux Falls marketing technology agency, to create an accessibility white paper that outlines website ADA liability and compliance. It also includes a quick reference accessibility audit to get you started. You can access a free copy of the white paper at https://dehs.com/accessibility/     

Website review.

Credit unions are spending time, energy and money on their websites and social media sites in the hopes that current and potential members see it and find useful products and services. However, advertising on these sites, like any other form of advertising, can trigger additional notices and disclosures. Making it convenient for members to apply for a loan online can trigger other notices and disclosures. Also, consider the growing concern that your website might be at risk of a potential lawsuit regarding website accessibility under the ADA.

If you need help reviewing your website for regulatory and ADA compliance, CUAD has a solution through our partnership with AffirmX. The Website Compliance Audit from AffirmX provides a consumer compliance assessment of the credit union's website, covering policies, disclosures, advertisements and notices appearing on the website. The second part of the AffirmX website assessment provides a website review for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2018 proposed enhanced requirements. The assessment will evaluate if the credit union’s website complies with the American with Disabilities Act and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The purpose of the upcoming requirements is so that those with disabilities can benefit from the website content.

The AffirmX website audit looks for compliance with a laundry list of regulations, including -  Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA); E-Sign Act; Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Regulation E); Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B); Equal Housing Lender Logo Disclosure; Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (Regulation C); NCUA Insurance Disclosure Requirements; Non-deposit Investment Product Requirements; Overdraft Protection Requirements; Privacy (Regulation P); Third Party Link Disclaimer Requirements; Truth in Lending (Regulation Z); Truth in Savings (NCUA); Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP); and USA Patriot Act.

Please contact Amy Kleinschmit with any questions at akleinschmit@cuad.coop.