Under a case just decided in New Jersey, banks can continue to offer senior citizens the benefit of bank accounts with special favorable terms. BCB Banccorp Inc. and BCB Community Bank operate in New Jersey and offer a variety of personal checking and savings accounts for their customers. Among these options are five types of personal checking accounts which are only available to customers who are 60 years of age and older. These accounts have more favorable terms with respect to things like the minimum balance requirements, interest rates, monthly maintenance fees, costs for copies of checks, etc. A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of individuals under 60 who have personal checking accounts at these banks, alleging that the bank’s policy violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) which is N.J.S.A. 10:5-12.
Among other things, the New Jersey LAD makes it unlawful for any person to refuse to sell, contract with, trade, provide services or otherwise do business with any other person on the basis of the other person’s age. N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(l).
In Resua v. BCB Bankcorp Inc., N.J. Super. App. Div. (06-2-9427) (per curiam), a non-precedential decision, the Court examines the Law Against Discrimination as applied to banking services. Section 12(i) of the LAD deals with banking, and although it lists many protected classes who are entitled to receive banking services without discrimination (such as race, creed, color, marital status, gender identity, and others), “age” is not included. The Court dismissed the lawsuit, holding that there is nothing in the statute that would prohibit a banking institution from offering bank accounts to people in different age groups which have terms that are more favorable than the accounts offered to other age groups. Here’s the case: Resua v BCB Bancorp.
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