June 20, 2018

NAFCU-backed effort leads 100+ lawmakers to call on DOJ for ADA website guidance

House letterA bipartisan, NAFCU-backed effort saw more than 100 House members today calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide guidance and clarity regarding website accessibility requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In a joint letter, circulated by Reps. Ted Budd, R-N.C., and Lou Correa, D-Calif., the representatives state that "unresolved questions about the applicability of the ADA to websites as well as the Department's abandonment of the effort to write a rule defining website accessibility standards, has created a liability hazard that directly affects businesses in our states and the customers they serve."

"NAFCU and its members appreciate this effort by Reps. Budd and Correa – and all House members who signed the letter – to stop these lawsuits that do nothing but place a huge financial burden on credit unions," said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. "We will continue to urge the Justice Department to address this issue as we stand by credit unions receiving demand letters."

House members urge the DOJ to "take steps now" to publicly state that legal action taken under the ADA regarding websites is "unfair and violates basic due process principles in the absence of clear statutory authority and issuance by the Department of a final rule …"

The letter also notes that it is important for Congress to act on the issue. NAFCU has held numerous meetings on the Hill in an effort to secure credit union relief on website accessibility demand letters.

NAFCU and its members strongly support the protections of the ADA and efforts to ensure individuals with disabilities are not discriminated against and have equal access to financial services. However, this is best achieved through clear guidance and standards for website compliance, not through meritless and costly lawsuits.

The association remains committed to defending credit unions that have had lawsuits filed against them; so far, six complaints have been dismissed against NAFCU-supported credit unions.

NAFCU has available an updated version of its widely downloaded ADA FAQ document; additional resources for dealing with the ADA issue can be found here.