Association defends CUs against frivolous information subpoenas

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The New York Credit Union Association continues to defend the state’s credit unions against frivolous information subpoenas, despite a state law that bans the practice.

An information subpoena is a legal document that orders a debtor or others to answer questions about where the debtor’s assets are located. Information subpoenas can be served on the debtor, another person or corporation that is believed to have information about the debtor’s assets.

Legislation long-championed by the Association—and signed into law in 2007—clamps down on “blanket” information subpoenas that are sent with no reasonable basis to companies or individuals.

Specifically, before a creditor sends an information subpoena, they are required to have “a reasonable belief that the party receiving this subpoena has in their possession information about the debtor that will assist the creditor in collecting the judgment.”

In spite of this requirement, a debt collection law firm was recently bombarding a small credit union in Western New York with time-consuming information subpoenas without performing the necessary “reasonable belief” measures. Most of the subpoenas were for persons who could not even qualify for membership at the credit union.

The credit union contacted the Association, which took immediate action. It sent a letter to the firm explaining that it was violating the law and demanding that it cease sending out the subpoenas.

The Association recently received a response from the law firm stating that it would no longer be sending subpoenas in this manner to New York’s credit unions.

Member credit unions that believe they have been served with a blanket information subpoena are encouraged to contact the Association for assistance with the matter.

To learn more about this issue, view the New York’s State of Mind blog.

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