CUNA, Wis. League see victory with Wis. Supreme Court decision

April 23, 2019

CUNA and the Wisconsin Credit Union League saw a victory in the Wisconsin Supreme Court this week as it upheld the organizations’ narrow interpretation of the Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA). CUNA and the Wisconsin league filed an amicus brief in the case.

Wisconsin credit unions were among lenders in the state targeted by plaintiffs’ attorneys alleging violations of the WCA.

“Wisconsin credit unions attempting good-faith efforts to collect on legitimate debts faced frivolous lawsuits as a result, which is why CUNA and the Wisconsin Credit Union League needed to act,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We’re glad the court agreed with us, and we thank the Wisconsin Credit Union League for their leadership on this matter on behalf of Wisconsin’s 128 credit unions.”

“We’re happy with the court’s common-sense opinion. This debtor defaulted on a loan but then asked the courts to erase the debt and award him damages just because the lender forgot to send out a notice before suing him,” said Paul Guttormsson, vice president of legal and compliance at the Wisconsin Credit Union League. “The Wisconsin Supreme Court honored long-standing precedent in this state, and the plain language of the Wisconsin Consumer Act, and told him no."

CUNA and the Wisconsin Credit Union League asserted in their brief that a debtor that has been sued on a consumer credit transaction without receiving proper notice does not entitle the debtor to sue the creditor for damages under a provision in the WCA.

The court agreed with their assertion, stating that “the creditor’s failure to provide such notice does not constitute a sufficient basis for relief” and that the failure to provide notice “was merely a failure to comply with a procedural requirement…such failure did not disrupt [creditor] Security’s right to payment from [debtor] Kirsch.”