Class action filed in St. Clair County

Kelly Holleran Oct. 7, 2009, 1:00am

Kreisler and Kreisler says National City Bank and PNC Financial Services Group annually charged it more than 1 percent above the promised interest rate in a commercial promissory note.

Kreisler and Kreisler filed a putative class action lawsuit Sept. 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against National City and PNC.

It claims the bank lured customers to borrow commercial loans by promising to charge interest at a yearly rate when, instead, it intended to charge yearly interest at a higher rate.

In promissory notes that Kreisler and Kreisler and others signed, the bank documented that the plaintiffs would pay interest on the unpaid balance of their loans at a certain interest rate, according to the complaint. However, the bank did not lay out a time period for the interest rates and did not state a per annum rate, the suit states.

Under the Illinois Interest Act, an interest rate stated in a contract lacking a time period is meant to be calculated at a per annum or yearly basis.

Instead of using a per annum rate in calculating interest, though, the bank used a year of less than 12 months, causing the plaintiffs to be charged 1.4 percent more than the agreed-upon annual interest rate stated in promissory notes and loan agreements per year or 1.7 percent more per leap year, the complaint says.

"The Bank further engaged in the unfair and deceptive business practice of preparing the Promissory Notes and Loan Agreements of Plaintiff and the Class in a manner that was likely to, and in fact did, cause confusion or misunderstanding of the true yearly interest rate on the loans of Plaintiff and the Class by knowingly inserting in these documents misleading and contradictory language that obfuscated the true yearly rate of interest or cost of the loans of Plaintiff and the Class," the suit states.

Kreisler and Kreisler's allegations against National City Bank and PNC include violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Act, breach of contract and violations of the Illinois Interest Act, according to the complaint.

Kreisler and Kreisler and the putative class is asking the court to certify the suit as a class action, to award it economic, actual and compensatory damages, to order the bank to adjust the principal balance on current loans in which the bank has calculated interest on a less than 12 month basis and to award pre-judgment interest, costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Bernard Ysursa of Belleville and Pat Ducey of the Law Office of Pat Ducey in Troy will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-505.

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