USAA Bank Must Pay $15.5 Million for ‘Unfair Acts and Practices’

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The USAA offices in downtown San Antonio.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The USAA offices in downtown San Antonio.

USAA Federal Savings Bank will pay $15.5 million in a settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which charged the San Antonio-based financial institution with violating banking and consumer protection laws.

A consent order released Wednesday by the CFPB outlined violations by USAA of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010. USAA agreed to pay $3.5 million in a civil penalty and $12 million in restitution for those violations deemed “unfair acts or practices,” in the consent order.

The CFPB said USAA failed to stop preauthorized electronic fund transfers and denied customers a “reasonable error resolution investigation.” The consent order states the bank reopened 16,980 closed accounts between July 2011 and November 2016 without permission from customers and more than 5,100 of those accounts incurred fees.

The consent order noted that USAA’s practice of reopening accounts without permission from owners “caused substantial injury to consumers.”

“USAA has been proactively addressing these issues for more than a year and most are resolved,” USAA said in a statement. “In 2017, we began providing restitution payments to some affected members and improved our procedures.

“None of the issues reflect an intention to take advantage of our members. In fact, we believed our processes would help resolve matters faster. We take responsibility for this situation.”

The CFPB also said that prior to 2015, USAA failed to stop preauthorized electronic fund transfers after members had requested those stopped payments.

USAA has 60 days to submit a comprehensive compliance plan, according to the consent order, to address the issues within the settlement, including stop payment procedures, error resolution, and account reopening procedures. The CFPB ordered USAA to take more than 20 corrective actions including granting “stop payment requests to all consumers who contact the Bank seeking to stop payment on future Preauthorized EFTs within three business days of the EFT.”

66 thoughts on “USAA Bank Must Pay $15.5 Million for ‘Unfair Acts and Practices’

  1. USAA closed and reopen an account to charge charges against fraud. They not only opened the account they seemed closed in our favor but went into parents primary account And took over $5000 out. Had evidence, police reports and other proof to show fraud and they refused all information and threatened me on several occasions with filing false reports. I need help to see if I fall in this category to get refunded my money back because they we’re WRONG and if you research this has happened to a lot of people with the same investigation team.

    • Yes they did me a significant disservice they still have money in their bank since March 2018. Which I cannot not touch

      • The reason they aren’t the USAA they once were is because they are outsourcing a lot of the jobs. India even handles confidential documents. They continue to replace quality employees with cheap, uneducated ones. A lot of newer leadership there come from big, greedy banks. It’s truly not the same company and it’s disheartening.

    • USAA stole more than 6k from me. Locked me out my account for more than 60 days and stole my $$. Paid an attorney but didnt have enough money to take it to trail. USAA are crooks.

    • Were you a scam victim and were your parents linked to any of your accounts? No bank in the world will reimburse a scam victim and if they drew from your parents acct it’s called the right to offset, completely legal and normal practice. When researching fraud they can see everything, your regularly used device, network, up address, interactions online, inbound calls, sources of funds etc etc etc. if it is found that you in anyway played a part in the occurrence of fraud, you and any other signer on the account are 100% liable for anything that occurred. Police reports do nothing, as a former part of their fraud investigation team I can tell you this. If you don’t think the results of the investigation were in your favor you can request it to be reworked by another analyst. Just know having your passwords written down, sharing passwords and logon info with a 3rd party, sharing your Debit card PIN, depositing a counterfeit check (always call to verify a check with issuing bank before depositing) sharing online credentials, all reasons that will make you liable for a fraud incident 100%.

    • Same thing happened with my son. We had evidence , police report and all and they still say it was my sons fault. Also had the nerve to put my account on hold and I had to blast them publicly on a forum to get them to release my funds

    • Same thing happened with my son. We had evidence , police report and all and they still say it was my sons fault. Also had the nerve to put my account on hold and I had to blast them publicly on a forum to get them to release my funds. I still have the insurance but I do no banking transactions with them, noooo way!!!

    • June 2017 they did the same thing to me and I’m out more than 6k and never did get my $ back and was given every excuse by various members and some couldn’t even answer any of my questions.

  2. Usaa allowed someone to deposit fake checks and withdraw money while I was supporting the border mission over the holidays this year. My account is overdrawn by over $33,000. They have the nerve to say it was me so they locked me out of my account and told me I owe them this money. I have been a loyal customer with them for 18 years. They wouldn’t release the information so that I could file a police report. They never caught it. I called in once I got back from the border mission and then the did some fake investigations to close the case quickly. I have photos of my bank account and some of the checks.

      • Same thing happened to me. THREE TIMES! Still isn’t resolved because I “still owe” them money. Decided to go with another bank. This month makes a year of dealing with it.

        • Had it happen about t years ago to me after I deposited a check they released there funds and 4 hours later pulled the entire amount out and I couldn’t pay a ER bill. They said they glitch was my fault

    • You were the only authorized person on the account? How and when did someone deposit fake checks in your account? If you were only authorized person amd had orders to prove you were deployed nowhere near where the deposits were made how did they hold you accountable? And you could still file a police report and get copies of fake checks and deposit slips for them to investigate.

      • Sir in my case we did all that! They allowed an unsigned check with not my name on it to be desposited into my daughters account. When the thief tried to get the 500 out there was not enough money in that account, they then went to my savings account that was linked and took 600 out using the mobile pay me now app. I never have used mobile banking and did not even know about the app. The transaction did not occur on my phone or go to an number or person known to me. USSA got mad when I said I filled a police report. They would not refund the money, because they said the person got into the account so we must of gave them the information. Why would I call about an unauthorized transaction if i gave someone my info? I was hacked and they allowed to to happen. Hopefully we will get our money back, the entire hacking incidents are inside jobs and they are protecting them.

    • That happened to me and they said I did it.. mind you I called them to tell them about the deposit I noticed and they blamed me.. as of 4 Jan 2019 I left after 17 yrs

    • Exact same issue and amount.
      I received various stories and they wasnt willing to give me information on the account that was one of my dependents and took money from me claiming they paid out 33k but couldn’t or wouldn’t show me.

    • Same happened to me with an account that my daughter opened for my sister that my name wasn’t even supposed to be on but they said my name was on it. Didn’t have any documentation stating such but still managed to take all my money from my account.

    • Same thing with me.. Someone was depositing check and I was the one who called them about it. Told them to lock my account.. Next day it was unlocked and more fake checks were being deposited. I called the fbi. Nothing was done. I still have all the paperwork.

    • We had the same thing happen to my son account and we had proof it was fraud and they still closed his account and took his money say we owed them over $10,000 dollars. We can we do now?

  3. Sounds like USAA is a total fraud. They pretend to be oriented towards helping military and x-military. In truth, they are just fraudsters.

  4. USAA took over $1800 out of our son’s account and paid a erroneous charge from the State of Oregon for his dad’s unemployment back pay. Then said, well sorry we are closing the account and you son’s account is affiliated to your so we took the money.

  5. Never had an issue with USAA, and I have been banking with them for over 20 years! Sorry to hear this news, and all those who were affected!

  6. Had similar issues of Usaa allowing tranfers up to 7,100 taken for my local account to USAA. When I caught it I called And found it originated from USAA. They closed the account but states I owe them $7100. The money never was never in either account. Smh

  7. This is so disappointing, and so hard to understand, because we have dealt with USAA for 50 years without issues.
    Perhaps they expanded their customer base too far beyond their original, foundational pool.

  8. Been with the federal government for over 16years direct deposit for pay checks and disability. Never have I been approved for a credit card nor auto loan. Don’t get it.

  9. I had fraud on my CC with USAA ..proved with statements. They still have yet to resolve..It’s like they trying not do settle with me. Like I committed the charges myself. They are garbage..and I will be taking my business elsewhere.

  10. We’ve banked with USAA for over 11 years and they’ve always taken care of us. Sad to see this in the news and hope the changes they make going forward will align better with their mission.

  11. I have banked with USAA for 18 years. I never had a problem. I also never thought USAA would do something like this. JUST HORRIBLE!

  12. I have done business with USAA for over 25 years. They are stellar in every way. Wells Fargo and other large banks have also incurred compliance fines, however MUCH larger, due to worse practices. I think we need to look at this issue in perspective.

  13. I am one of the people receiving restitution checks. I still like USAA, haven’t had many issues with them at all, been banking with them 14 years.

  14. USAA was really good when we started using them but about 3 years ago they went way downhill. We had to close our account to get back on our feet because of the shady charges and paycheck holds they were throwing at us out of the blue (“algorithms”). We are still recovering from that nightmare. I am not shocked they have exhibited predatory behavior towards other customers as well.

    • I recognize that “algorithms” excuse! I have been banking with USA for 43 years and never had a whisper of a problem — until about 3 years ago. Then they started delaying wired deposits for 3 days. When I complained I received all manner of unacceptable excuses. But the delays ended.
      I believe that the company has gone through too many changes. They have begun practices used by mega banks in the civilian world, brought on staff that knows nothing of the heritage of services for the military and, sadly, have opened their doors to anyone and everyone instead of staying dedicated to current and past Military service members. There is no honor in the ranks of the Mega Banking Industry.
      I am still with USA banking and insurance because there is nothing “out there” that is better.

  15. Been with USAA for almost 13 years, and just within the last 3 years, I’ve started having some serious issues with their practices in general. Whenever they’ve done recently are ruining the credibility they had in the beginning.

  16. I have been with USAA for a long time and have NEVER had an issue of any kind. The whole key to not having issues is:
    1. Keep a register and track your money. Relying solely on your online balance is asking for trouble.
    2. Make sure I have enough money to PAY for what I buy.

    Closing an account before a charge (pre-authorized) comes thru amounts to stealing.

  17. Yes, USAA took over 5000.00 from my our checking account because of fake checks without my authorization. Even though they did not have evidence they threaten to take action and we could not ask what evidence they got to justify taking money from my account.. Bad service with no explanation.

  18. I had someone try to use my card within minutes of me using it at a gas station and USAA instantly declined it and notified me to cancel my card! I have had nothing but the best experience with them! I call and they take care of everything!

  19. We had 4 electronic checks deposited into our 18 year old account in a 24 hour period for 10,000 dollars and the funds were made available and transferred to another members account in 2014. We were never provided any information about the other account or the account holder and USAA would never provide any information as one of the checks was being deposited while on the phone with a customer service representative reporting the fraud. My daughter was in basic training while this happened and was not aware of the transactions. I reported the fraud and filed a police report and provided to USAA as requested and they never responded back and in 72 hours I called back. The case was closed and we were made responsible for paying these fraudulent checks written to a man off my child account. We have been members for over 20 years and this should never have happened. I am in the banking industry and our family was not protected and this money was stolen from us as a result of fraud.

    • Omg we had the same thing happen to us and our son account. We have banked with them for over 20 years and we had police reports and report the fraudulent activity and yet still they said my son owes them all that money back and we are still dealing with it with our lawyer.

  20. Things have certainly take a turn for the worse there. My dad who has had a n account there for over 20 years, spent almost an hour on the phone trying to convince them he actually had an account. He gave them the account number, member number everything and they kept telling them he didnt have an account there. Took about an hour to finally get a manager , who pulled it up in like a minute. Welcome to the world of third party support. Keep this in mind too, as bad as all the comments on here are, and I’m sure they are all true, USAA bank is still far and above one of the best in the industry.. think about that.

  21. When a company has ALL your information how are the representatives NOT able to call, txt email you to inform you of their actions to resolve/clarify information with your account- simply unacceptable…Retire Capt 22 years Air Force 1985-2010 banked w/ them and invested My whole US Air Force career

  22. We stopped doing business with USAA Banking Services 10 years ago, after repeated instances of poor customer service. To this day, I refuse to bank with USAA Federal Savings Bank or use their mortgage services because of their less than stellar service in those business lines. However, their insurance business has been top notch in my 30+ years’ experience with that side of their business. Just because they claim to understand the needs of military personnel does not necessarily mean they are the best or only company good at providing banking services to military personnel. It still pays to shop around. Personally, I prefer a bank that has a physical branch where I can talk face to face with a customer service representative and be treated like a person, not just an account number.

  23. Post office or Comal County lost out tax payment. Called USAA and asked to stop payment and I paid taxes on line. USAA told me the stop payment was only good for 6 months and I would have to call them in June to place another stop payment on the same check. Great customer service….. not.

  24. I had plenty of money in my non USSA checking account in September when I made a telephone payment on my USAA credit card., and received my confirmation number. USAA Notified me two weeks later via e-mail that my payment was over due. I immediately went to the Credit Union of my checking account and inquired why? There was plenty – over $1,000 in that account. My Credit Union called USAA and inquired. no one could explain it. USAA said my payment send in this day should go through. Credit Union Rep agreed. So, I made another telephone payment and received confirmation. Finally !!
    My October USAA statement showed that 6 days after the first credit card Phone payment USAA applird a $35.00 “Returned Payment” charge to my Credit card account. The statement showed I was still in non payment status and my account was overdue.
    I made an immediate telephone payment from my Credit Union checking account ( balance over $1,000.) Received a conformation Number again.. Thought I was good to go…
    My November USAA statement showed I was 30 days past due?? Another “Returned Payment ” charge. What??
    By now USAA has automatically fired off this 30 day past due notice to the credit bureaus and my upper 700 credit score dropped to the 500’s. ( and we were looking into buying a house for our son.
    I have never been late on any payments. My credit history up to this point had been golden.)
    I paid the balance off on my USAA Credit card using another checking account and no longer use a USAA credit card.
    Many attempts to ascertain why USAA Returned Payment, and my requests to have USAA send the Credit bureaus something to show I was attempting to pay on time..and that I thought I had made payments on time since I had payment confirmation numbers. ( As I had done for years without any late or non payments..)
    USAA, so far, has been of no help for me in my attempts to clean up this USAA created credit fiasco.
    They have really has screwed my credit up. 30 Day late!! And I still don’t understand why they returned my payments .
    “USAA .. Get with the program here…” I am very disappointed

  25. Was in process to buy my first home, 40 days in process, signed out on Monday, to drive home on Tuesday and closing on Friday so I had the weekend to move in, They denied me that Monday afternoon after signing out! Talk about a horror story, I have several more but this one put me in a very bad place especially transitioning out of the service.

  26. I’ve been with USAA since 1971 and have never had anything (almost) but superb service from them. But I agree with most of the observations that they just aren’t the same “boutique” military-oriented company they once were. I had to file my first automobile (minor) claim in January 2019 and was dismayed that I spoke with a real person, the claims rep., only once, then she never called back or responded to any of my emails – everything was handled through their “Message Center” and was incredibly impersonal. Years ago you’d call and could speak with a knowledgeable, courteous, friendly representative, but I guess those day are long gone.

  27. Been trying for two months to help my adult son get an account approved so we could get him started with an IRA. Already has another bank account and USAA approved its connection to USAA but no USAA checking account yet. Just one business day left to get money in for previous tax year and no one from USAA will talk to me about his account nor will tell him anything other than just keep waiting. Between the two of us we have spent about 20 hours on the phone and chat messenger over this issue and have never gotten an answer. Total garbage customer service and poorly trained people answering phones and operating chat messengers. Seriously considering closing his, mine and wife’s account and pulling out altogether after more than ten years.

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