A lawsuit accusing Fifth Third Bank of misleading customers about the true cost of their early access loans has been ruled a class action by a federal judge in Cincinnati.
The Early Access program allows Fifth Third customers to take out short-term loans for their next direct deposit, according to the bank.
The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2012, accuses the downtown Cincinnati-based lender of breaking the truth in lending law by misleading customers about the annual percentage they would pay on the loans.
The annual percentage can be 15 times greater than the fifth-third claim according to the lawsuit originally filed on behalf of two borrowers.
Class action certification, issued March 26 by District Judge Michael Barrett, would allow hundreds of thousands of fifth-third customers who had early access loans prior to May 1, 2013 to join the lawsuit.
As a result, the lawsuit could cost the bank hundreds of millions of dollars.
The fifth third declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“While we are unable to comment on the pending litigation, Fifth Third’s commitment is to put our customers first,” the company said in a statement to The Enquirer.