Lexington, SC 10/17/2023 - South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson joined a coalition of 50 state and territory attorneys general and financial regulators announcing two separate settlements totaling $20 million with payment processor ACI Worldwide over a 2021 testing error that led to the attempted unauthorized withdrawal of $2.3 billion from the accounts of mortgage holders. South Carolina will receive $343,824.95 from the settlements.
This case was investigated and negotiated in coordination with state financial regulators, including the Money Services Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
ACI Payments, a subsidiary of ACI Worldwide Corp., is a payment processor for a variety of third-party clients, including mortgage servicers. Nationstar Mortgage, known publicly as Mr. Cooper, offered ACI’s Speedpay product to its customers so they could schedule and electronically pay their monthly mortgage payments through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. On April 23, 2021, ACI was testing the Speedpay platform when it erroneously submitted live Mr. Cooper consumer data into the ACH system. This resulted in ACI erroneously attempting to withdraw mortgage payments from hundreds of thousands of Mr. Cooper customers on a day that was not authorized or expected. In many cases, consumers were subjected to the attempted withdrawal of multiple mortgage payments from their personal bank accounts. While the vast majority of withdrawals did not ultimately go through or were reversed, 1.4 million transactions totaling $2.3 billion were processed, impacting 477,000 Mr. Cooper customers including 7,562 South Carolinians. While ACI took corrective steps to minimize the impact of the testing error, in some cases, consumers were not able to access the money at issue and were forced to incur overdraft or insufficient funds fees. Impacted consumers have received restitution from ACI and through other related settlements.
“More than seven-and-a-half thousand South Carolinians had their finances jeopardized because of ACI’s testing practices,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “Through this settlement, we hope to create an improved standard for payment processors, prevent future violations, and protect consumers from outside interference over their finances.”
The investigation determined that the April 2021 incident was possible due to significant defects in ACI’s privacy and data security procedures and technical infrastructure related to the Speedpay platform. In addition to the $20 million payment to the states, today’s settlement requires ACI to take steps to avoid any future incidents, including requiring ACI to use artificially created data rather than real consumer data when testing systems or software, and requiring ACI to segregate any testing or development work from its consumer payment systems.
South Carolinians affected by ACI’s testing error may wish to submit claim forms in connection with a class action settlement and must do so by November 13, 2023. More information on the class action settlement is available here: https://achloanpaymentlitigation.com/