January 2, 2018
Authored by: Merrit Jones
Numerous community banks that had received demand letters from the advocacy group Access Now alleging that their websites and mobile apps are inaccessible in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) have now also received letters that those claims have been resolved under a settlement with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
The settlement releases ICBA members and non-member banks with assets of $50 billion or less from all ADA claims concerning their electronic banking services, including online banking, mobile banking, ATM services, and telephone banking. The settlement resolves numerous claims that Access Now had made through its counsel, Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela and KamberLaw LLC. ICBA announced the news of the settlement directly to its members in November.
The settlement preceded an announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) that it is withdrawing all rulemaking concerning website accessibility under the ADA. The DOJ first announced its intent to promulgate such regulations in 2010. Its announcement leaves uncertain the issue of whether, and when, there will be a government standard for website accessibility.