RM LAW, P.C. announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of all persons or entities that purchased Fifth Third Bancorp ("Fifth Third" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: FITB) securities during the period from February 26, 2016 through March 6, 2020, inclusive (the “Class Period”).
Fifth Third shareholders may, no later than June 8, 2020, move the Court for appointment as a lead plaintiff of the Class. If you purchased shares of Fifth Third and would like to learn more about these claims or if you wish to discuss these matters and have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights, contact Richard A. Maniskas, Esquire toll-free at (844) 291-9299 or to sign up online, click here.
The Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, defendants made materially false and misleading statements, and omitted materially adverse facts, about the Company's business, operations and prospects. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the defendants concealed from the investing public that: (i) as a result of Fifth Third Bank's aggressive incentive policies to promote its cross-sell strategy, Fifth Third Bank employees engaged in unauthorized conduct with customer accounts; (ii) since at least 2008, Fifth Third Bank, and by extension, Fifth Third, was aware of such unauthorized conduct and, thus, that it was violating relevant regulations and laws aimed at protecting its consumers; (iii) Fifth Third failed to properly implement and monitor its cross-sell program, detect and stop misconduct, and identify and remediate harmed consumers; (iv) all the foregoing subjected the Company to a foreseeable risk of heightened regulatory scrutiny or investigation; (v) Fifth Third's revenues were in part the product of unlawful conduct and thus unsustainable; and (vi) as a result, the Company's public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times. As a result of defendants' alleged false and misleading statements, the Company's stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period.
According to the Complaint, on March 2, 2020, Fifth Third filed an Annual Report on Form 10-K with the SEC, reporting the Company's financial and operating results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019 (the "2019 10-K"). According to the 2019 10-K, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") staff "notified Fifth Third that it intends to file an enforcement action in relation to alleged unauthorized account openings."
As the market digested this information, Fifth Third's stock price fell $0.72 per share, or 2.95%, over the following trading sessions to close at $23.68 per share on March 5, 2020.
However, the true scope of the Company's alleged wrongdoing, and potential liability with respect to unauthorized account openings, was left undisclosed in the 2019 10-K and was actively downplayed by the Company, thereby causing the Company's stock price to continue to trade at artificially inflated prices throughout the remainder of the Class Period.
Then, on March 9, 2020, the CFPB announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Fifth Third Bank in federal court, disclosing significant additional information concerning its investigation into the Company that the Company had previously failed to disclose. Specifically, the CFPB "allege[d] that for several years," and until at least 2016, "Fifth Third [Bank], without consumers' knowledge or consent: opened deposit and credit-card accounts in consumers' names; transferred funds from consumers' existing accounts to new, improperly opened accounts; enrolled consumers in unauthorized online-banking services; and activated unauthorized lines of credit on consumers' accounts." The CFPB further alleged that "despite knowing since at least 2008 that employees were opening unauthorized consumer-financial accounts, Fifth Third [Bank] took insufficient steps to detect and stop the conduct and to identify and remediate harmed consumers." Consequently, the CFPB concluded that Fifth Third Bank "violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act's prohibition against unfair and abusive acts or practices as well as the Truth in Lending Act and the Truth in Savings Act and their implementing regulations."
On this news, shares of Fifth Third fell, closing at $17.66 per share on March 11, 2020, on heavy trading volume.
If you are a member of the class, you may, no later than June 8, 2020, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff of the class. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain RM LAW, P.C. or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.