T Bank, N.A., of Dallas has agreed to repay $5.1 million to more than 60,000 consumers who complained the bank processed unauthorized charges submitted by a third-party payment processor and several telemarketers and Internet merchants.
In a settlement agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the bank agreed to send checks directly to scammed consumers. It also agreed to pay a $100,000 fine.
In reaching the settlement, the OCC said it "concluded that the Bank engaged in unsafe or unsound practices during the course of its relationships with the payment processor and the telemarketers and internet merchants, and unfair practices within the meaning of the Federal Trade Commission Act."
The OCC said the bank severed its relationships with the payment processor and merchants in August 2007.
The practices cited by the OCC in the settlement involved the use of remotely created checks, or RCCs, by telemarketers, internet merchants, and the payment processor that maintained account relationships with the bank. An RCC is a check that is not created by the accountholder and does not bear the accountholder's signature. Instead, the signature block of the check includes text such as authorized by your depositor, no signature required.
A large percentage of these RCCs were returned to the bank by individuals, or their financial institutions, who said the checks were never authorized or that they had never received the products or services promised by the telemarketers or merchants. In some cases, the return rates exceeded 60% of the total deposited.
In addition to the monetary components of the settlement, T Bank agreed to develop new policies and procedures with respect to RCCs, before accepting any new customers that regularly deposit RCCs.