Western Alliance Acquires Leading Digital Payments Platform for Class Action Settlements and Broader Legal Industry, Digital Disbursements

January 28, 2022
  • Acquisition grows Western Alliance’s Settlement Services capabilities and solidifies bank as an industry leader in the legal class action market
  • Robust platform enhances class member digital payments for settlement disbursements in the legal industry 
  • Digital payment solutions improve the process for all stakeholders – courts, governments, lawyers, claims administrators, and payees – and are the legal industry catalyst for digital payments adoption

PHOENIX -- Western Alliance Bank today announced it has completed the acquisition of Digital Settlement Technologies, DBA Digital Disbursements, the leading digital payments platform for the class action legal industry. Joining forces with Digital Disbursements, which enables the seamless integration of a customizable pay menu into settlement claim forms and other payment selection websites, positions Western Alliance as the leading digital payments platform for the class action market and broader legal industry.

Since its launch in 2019, Digital Disbursements has quickly emerged as the preferred digital payment services provider of claims administrators. The Los Angeles-based company was created to fill the digital payment void and address the evolving payment needs for class actions and other business-to-consumer payments in the legal industry. Digital Disbursements’ proprietary platform enables claimants to choose how they would like to receive their payments, from direct-to-bank account options to popular digital wallets. 

“The acquisition of Digital Disbursements is the latest investment by Western Alliance that furthers our commitment to providing differentiated technology solutions that address the evolving needs of our clients,” said Kenneth A. Vecchione, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Alliance Bank. “We look forward to partnering with the Digital Disbursements team, with whom we have built a close working relationship. This acquisition will allow us to explore new capabilities and continue to deepen our expanding suite of legal banking services while serving adjacent sectors that will benefit from digital payments technology.”  

Digital Disbursements provides Western Alliance with the internal capability to significantly increase efficacy and reduce distribution costs.  A broad menu of digital payment options also addresses the needs of unbanked class members who are often required to pay high fees for check-cashing services, which has long been an issue in settlement fund distribution. Digital Disbursements’ platform also implements machine learning, strong risk management infrastructure, and digital fingerprint analysis to help administrators detect potential fraud. 

“With more than 80 percent of recipients now preferring digital payment options, our platform has played a leadership role in driving the legal industry’s adoption of digital payment distribution for class action settlements,” said Jeff Richardson, Co-founder of Digital Disbursements and a 28-year class action lawyer.  “Partnering with Western Alliance will continue our mission to improve the settlement distribution process for all stakeholders – class members, administrators, lawyers, and courts.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Digital Disbursements is becoming part of the Western Alliance family,” said Francesca Castagnola, Senior Managing Director of Western Alliance’s Settlement Services team. “Combining Digital Disbursements’ leading-edge payments platform and technology with our expanding suite of Settlement Services and juris banking offerings positions Western Alliance for significant growth in the class action and mass torts arena. Our team is always striving for new solutions and technology to improve the  settlement distribution process, and Digital Disbursements will undoubtedly continue that momentum.”

Post-closing, Digital Disbursements will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Alliance Bank and be led by Jeff Richardson and his team.

About Western Alliance Bancorporation
With more than $50 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL) is one of the country’s top-performing banking companies. The company is again #1 best-performing of the 50 largest public U.S. banks in the S&P Global Market Intelligence listing for 2020, ranks high on the Forbes “Best Banks in America” list year after year and was named #1 Best Emerging Regional Bank in Bank Director’s 2022 RankingBanking study. Its primary subsidiary, Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, helps clients realize their ambitions with teams of experienced bankers and mortgage experts who deliver superior service and a full spectrum of customized loan, deposit and treasury management capabilities, including blockchain-based offerings. Business clients also benefit from a powerful array of specialized financial services that provide strong expertise and tailored solutions for a wide variety of industries and sectors. Serving clients across the country wherever business happens, Western Alliance Bank operates individual, full-service banking brands and has offices in key markets nationwide. For more information, visit westernalliancebank.com.

About Digital Disbursements
Digital Disbursements is the leading digital payment solution for class actions and other legal payments. Co-founded in 2019 by Adam Jiwan and Jeff Richardson, Digital Disbursements facilitates the secure selection, disbursement, and reporting of mass payments for clients across legal and other industries. Digital Disbursements partners with more than 60% of class action administrators and has been awarded digital distribution projects involving more than $2.5 billion in payments to recipients in more than 130 countries.  For more information, visit digitaldisbursements.com.

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This release contains forward-looking statements that relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding our expectations with regard to our business, strategy for growth, customer retention, product development, market position, ability to improve efficiency, and reduce costs. 

The forward-looking statements contained herein reflect our current views about future events and performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause our actual results to differ significantly from historical results and those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Some factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical or expected results include, among others: the risk factors discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the Company’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q,in each case as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission; the potential adverse effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and any governmental or societal responses thereto, or other unusual and infrequently occurring events; changes in general economic conditions, either nationally or locally in the areas in which we conduct or will conduct our business; inflation, interest rate, market and monetary fluctuations; our ability to successfully integrate and operate Digital Disbursements or AmeriHome; increases in competitive pressures among financial institutions and businesses offering similar products and services; higher defaults on our loan portfolio than we expect; changes in management’s estimate of the adequacy of the allowance for credit losses; legislative or regulatory changes or changes in accounting principles, policies or guidelines; supervisory actions by regulatory agencies which may limit our ability to pursue certain growth opportunities, including expansion through acquisitions; additional regulatory requirements resulting from our continued growth; the execution of our business plan; management’s estimates and projections of interest rates and interest rate policy; the execution of our business plan; and other factors affecting the financial services industry generally or the banking industry in particular.

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