CUNA files brief supporting credit union’s use of arbitration agreement

October 17, 2022

CUNA filed an amicus brief on behalf of Golden 1 Credit Union in a lawsuit, Burgardt v. The Golden 1 Credit Union. At issue is whether Golden 1 Credit Union can compel the plaintiff to arbitrate his claims. Golden 1 Credit Union’s membership agreement did not include an arbitration provision when the plaintiff joined, but Golden 1 later added it, and the plaintiff did not opt out. The plaintiff later filed a putative class action lawsuit in Sacramento, California related to non-sufficient funds fees.

The state superior court denied Golden 1’s motion to compel arbitration, and this decision was affirmed by the state appellate court. CUNA’s brief was filed in support of Golden 1’s petition that the United States Supreme Court review the Court of Appeal’s decision.

CUNA’s brief supports Golden 1 Credit Union’s position that it can add an arbitration provision through mutual assent, specifically by giving members notice of the proposed provision and the opportunity to opt out.

The brief notes that “operational uncertainty abounds in determining the enforceability of arbitration agreements added through mutual assent, including the notice-and-opportunity-to-opt-out process used by The Golden 1 Credit Union.”

It adds the standards fabricated by the courts are “confusing, often conflicting, and lack even-handed reasoning that comport with the Federal Arbitration Act’s equal-treatment principle.”

CUNA also notes that limiting credit unions’ use of arbitration agreements will harm access to the safe and affordable services credit unions provide, including services provided to those who lack access to traditional banking.