FAQs Regarding the Settlement between Adirondack Trust and the New York State Department of Financial Services - The Adirondack Trust Company
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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Concerning the restitution process and refund opportunity pursuant to paragraph 33 of the June 24, 2021, settlement between the Adirondack Trust Company and the New York State Department of Financial Services

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August 2021

You may be eligible for restitution

The Adirondack Trust Company has reached an agreement with the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) to resolve a dispute about its indirect auto lending program.

The background

Consumers finance the purchase of a car either directly through a bank, credit union or other lending institution, or indirectly, where the financing is provided through a car dealer partnered with a lender. In these cases, an auto dealer collects a prospective borrower’s credit information and submits an application to the lender. The lender then informs the dealer of the terms under which it will agree to purchase the loan. A dealer may then add an additional cost to the loan, called “dealer markup.” The NYSDFS found that Adirondack Trust’s indirect automobile program charged higher dealer markups for members of minority groups.

Importantly, we were not accused of intentional discrimination. NYSDFS said they “did not find evidence of any intentional discrimination against applicants on the part of the Bank or its employees.” The NYSDFS also commended our “substantial cooperation with its investigation, through timely and appropriate responses to requests for information and the production of documents and data […].” NYSDFS found that Adirondack Trust’s policy or practice of permitting automobile dealers to impose a dealer markup without any justification on the basis of objective credit related factors resulted in disparate impact on the basis of ethnicity, in violation of the law.

We are committed to providing equal access to financial services for all of our customers and communities. We abhor and condemn discrimination on the basis of race, sex or gender identity, creed, color, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, marital or familial status, age and military status. We are one community, and we all benefit when we support each other.

To resolve the matter, we are providing reimbursement to borrowers identified by the statistical methods employed by the NYSDFS as Asian or Pacific Islander, African American, or Hispanic who were charged higher dealer markups on their loans than borrowers identified as Non-Hispanic White between January 1, 2016, and October 31, 2017.

We hope the information that follows will help answer any questions.


1. Am I eligible for reimbursement?

You may be eligible if you purchased a car financed through us between January 1, 2016, and October 31, 2017, and you are Asian or Pacific Islander, African American, or Hispanic.

2. How will I know if I am eligible?

Working with the NYSDFS, we are reviewing our records to identify customers who may be eligible. We will contact those customers in writing.

3. When will I know if I am eligible?

Customers eligible to receive reimbursement will receive a check for reimbursement within four months after our list of eligible customers has been approved by the NYSDFS. We will update these FAQs with a more specific timeline once that approval is received.

4. How much money would I be eligible to receive?

We are required to calculate reimbursement on an individual basis and to distribute the reimbursement based on formulas approved by the NYSDFS.

5. What if you do not determine I am eligible, or determine that I am ineligible, and I disagree?

You should make a request to us for reimbursement, either by calling (518) 584-5844, or by emailing us by clicking here. If we cannot or do not determine you are eligible for reimbursement, we will refer your request to the NYSDFS and forward documents relating to your claim and any additional information you submit to them for review and a decision.

6. How long do I have to submit a claim for reimbursement?

A borrower must submit a reimbursement claim within one year of the date when this notice was posted on our website (August 6, 2022).

7. My address has changed since I purchased the car. How will you find me?

We will seek to contact you at your last known address. If your address has changed since you purchased the car and you did not already let us know, please provide us with a current address by calling (518) 584-5844 or contacting us here. If our first letter to your address is undeliverable, we will make further attempts to determine your current address.

8. Does this mean I can stop or reduce payments on my car loan?

No. Assuming you have not already paid off the loan, you should continue to make scheduled payments. However, you may be eligible for lower payments going forward, and we will advise you of any new payment amount together with the reimbursement check.

9. I’ve paid off my car loan. Am I still eligible for reimbursement?

Yes.

10. Where can I find further information?

Please contact the New York State Department of Financial Services at https://www.dfs.ny.gov or Adirondack Trust at (518) 584-5844.

The consent order between Adirondack Trust and the NYSDFS is posted here.

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