Associates National Bank
Re: United States v. Associates National Bank
As you may know, Associates National Bank has recently entered into a settlement
agreement with the United States to resolve a lawsuit brought by the United States against the
Bank. Please read this letter and the enclosed materials carefully as it may affect your
In its lawsuit, the United States alleged that Associates National Bank discriminated
against credit card applicants and cardholders on the basis of national origin in violation of the
Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1691-1691f. The United States specifically alleged
that Associates National Bank excluded from certain promotions cardholders who had applied
for their cards using Spanish-language applications, rejected certain Spanish-language credit card
applicants while approving similarly situated English-language applicants, and assigned lower
credit limits to certain Spanish-language credit card applicants than to similarly situated English-language applicants. Associates National Bank denies the allegations in the lawsuit and
continues to assert that we have never discriminated on the basis of national origin in our credit
card business. However, to avoid the uncertainties and costs of protracted litigation, the Bank
and the United States have agreed to this voluntary settlement. A copy of the settlement
agreement which we have reached with the Department of Justice is enclosed with this letter.
The Department of Justice has determined that, according to our records, you applied for
an Associates National Bank credit card using a Spanish-language application prior to May 1997
and were treated less favorably than similarly situated English-language applicants and
cardholders. Therefore, the Department of Justice has determined that you are entitled to
monetary compensation award under the terms of the settlement agreement in the amount of
_____________ dollars ($__,____.00).
The Department of Justice believes the money you will receive is a fair settlement of the
alleged violation of the law as it relates to your loan application. However, you are not required
to accept this monetary award. If you do not want to participate in this settlement, you may
decline to do so and thereby give up your right to receive money under this agreement. If you
choose to decline this award, you may pursue any legal rights you might have individually with a
private attorney of your own choosing.
If you choose to accept this award, you must sign a general release in which you agree to
accept the monetary award in exchange for your agreement not to bring any legal action on your
own against Associates National Bank or its successor financial institutions on the grounds that
Associates National Bank discriminated against you in our credit card business because of your
national origin. Please read this General Release form carefully.
In order to receive this monetary award, sign the enclosed General Release form in
the presence of a Notary Public and return it within sixty (60) days of receiving this letter.
Please return the signed, notarized General Release form in the stamped envelope
enclosed for your convenience. The envelope is addressed to:
Associates National Bank
If you do not return the enclosed General Release form within sixty (60) days of
receiving this letter, you will be ineligible for the monetary award. You may wish to make a
copy of the signed release for yourself prior to returning it to the Bank.
The Bank will mail a certified check to you, in the amount specified above, by
certified/registered mail, after you have returned your signed, notarized release. You may not
receive the check for your monetary award for several months after returning the signed,
notarized release to us, as processing the total number of awards may take some time.
If you have any questions, you may contact the Department of Justice at 1-800-___-____.
Please follow the voice instructions after you are connected. Be sure to leave your name, the
name of this case, your telephone number, and a time at which you may be reached at that
Please be aware that the government attorneys can not act as your private attorney.
However, you may consult with a private attorney of your own at any time if you wish. If you do
retain an attorney concerning this matter, please have them contact the attorneys for the United
States. Those inquiries may be addressed to:
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Attn: U.S. V. Associates National Bank
Please inform the United States of any change in your address at the telephone number or
address listed above. You may become ineligible for a monetary award for failure to inform the
United States of any change in your address.
Associates National Bank