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Credit Unions Say Home Depot Breach Hurt Them

The recent card breach at Home Depot has reportedly cost credit unions nationwide about $60 million. The largest retailer data theft in history (so far, Christmas is coming) has already been the subject of lawsuits from two Pennsylvania credit unions in federal court.  The suit seeks class action status for all financial institutions that were caught in the 50 million-plus card breach that the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) data indicates was so costly for retailers.

CUNA is now urging its ‘members to undertake a fuller assessment of the breach effect, with a survey targeted at sussing out how deep the damage has gone.  The survey asks credit unions the number of debit and credit cards affected, the costs incurred for card reissuance, the costs related to additional staffing, member notification, account monitoring and the costs of any other clearly fraud related losses.

CUNA reports that 7.2 million of credit union issued debit and credit cards were affected and had to be re-issued. The average cost per card was $8.02, which includes re-issuing the card itself, paying for fraudulent charges, and paying additional staff costs associated with account monitoring.

CUNA economist Bill Hampel said that fraud accounted for 60 percent of the total cost, averaging $4.89 per card.This number indicates that even if no fraud had occurred the breach would have still cost the retailer over three dollars per breached card.

CUNA president and CEO Jim Nussle said “The cost to credit unions of data breaches — which seem to be occurring with increasing regularity — is rising, as the CUNA surveys clearly demonstrate …. The bottom line is that credit union members end up paying the costs — despite the fact that the credit unions they own had nothing to do with causing the breach in the first place.”

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