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Guam federal court gives final approval on ANZ bank lawsuit

ANZ Bank logo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The federal court in Guam has issued an order granting final approval of the Class Action Settlement and Judgment in the federal lawsuit by three local residents — Ronald Parker and Fa’afetai Parker and Tualagi Gaoteote — against ANZ Guam Inc., and its local operation, ANZ Amerika Samoa Bank.

The final order, issued Aug. 31, followed an Aug. 27 final hearing for the purposes of, determining the fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness of the settlement; and ruling upon an application by plaintiff Counsel for an award of fees, costs, and expenses, and the service award.

According to the order, the court finds — among other things — that the settlement is in all respects fair, reasonable, and adequate. Furthermore, the settlement is in the best interests of the Settlement Class in light of the degree of recovery obtained in relation to the risks faced by the Settlement Class in litigating the class claims.

In a separate directive, the court ordered ANZ to pay: $250,000 in fees, costs and expenses to attorney for the plaintiffs; $7,500 collectively for the service award payment to Ronald Parker and Fa’afetai Parker; and $7,500 to Tualagi Gaoteote.

As previously reported by Samoa News, the court in April this year gave preliminary approval to a proposed class action settlement reached between the parties. Plaintiffs alleged in the 2018 lawsuit that ANZ failed to provide homeowners with accurate periodic statements, failed to provide adequate notice when it changes the interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages, and charges excessive late fees.

The plaintiffs further allege that ANZ is liable for its systematic violations of the Truth in Lending Act  (TILA) of 1968, and Regulation Z, for failing to provide homeowners with accurate periodic statements regarding the mortgages it services.

Under the agreement, ANZ made a payment in the amount of $1,500 for each of the Covered Mortgage Loans the borrowers have with ANZ on real property in American Samoa. There will be one payment per Covered Mortgage Loan regardless of how many borrowers are on the loan. (See Samoa News edition Apr. 29th for details.)

A provision in settlement made clear that the agreement is not in any way an admission by ANZ of claims made by plaintiffs.