TCPA Petition Could Cause Multiple Industries to Break Laws, Trade Groups Find

Jacqueline Ortiz Ramsay

In a joint letter to the FCC, trade groups highlight negative impacts the Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling will have on businesses and consumers

Washington, D.C. – The American Financial Services Association, the Consumer Bankers Association, the Credit Union National Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, and the Electronic Transactions Association today sent a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Petition for Rulemaking and Declaratory Ruling (petition) regarding prior express consent under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In the letter, the trade groups request a denial of the petition and lay out seven reasons why it would prove harmful in today’s economy. The petition, which claims the FCC exceeded its authority in two previous orders, would create an unworkable standard to receive consent from consumers.

Of the most concerning items in the petition, the trade groups show how the petition could potentially cause companies to violate already established laws. The letter states:

“Not only do customers desire these communications, there are a multitude of laws that mandate Institutions contact their customers.  For example, mortgage servicing activity is governed by:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “Early Intervention Rule,” which requires institutions to establish live contact or make a good faith effort to establish live contact with customers within 36 days after a mortgage loan becomes delinquent;
  • Fannie Mae’s “Quality Right Party Contact,” which is a standard that establishes a code of conduct for interactions with customers with delinquent debt that includes a requirement to establish a rapport with those customers and open an ongoing dialogue to attempt to resolve the delinquency in a positive manner, and
  • The Home Affordable Modification Program, which requires that institutions “proactively solicit” customers for inclusion in the program by making a minimum of four telephone calls to the customer at different times of day.”

In addition to highlighting the legal conflict the petition presents, the trade groups highlight the dampening effects such a petition, if granted, would have on customer-business communications. As a result, the groups ask the FCC to consider as part of its review the many critical and just reasons why a company would need to call a consumer, highlighting how companies often call to address an issue or provide a service.

“In the Senate report recommending the TCPA’s passage, the United States Senate recognized a “substantial governmental interest in protecting telephone subscribers’ privacy rights from unsolicited

telephone solicitations.” However, this is not the type of communications the Institutions are attempting to send, as discussed above. After receiving consent from their customer, they are seeking to send informational, non-telemarketing calls that consumers have requested and in many instances need.”

The petition fails to acknowledge today’s highly mobile economy and the fact that companies such as banks and internet providers call their customers to provide valuable information regarding the customer’s account and more. To read the joint trades letter to the FCC in full, please click here.

Additional materials on TCPA:

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About AFSA

The American Financial Services Association (AFSA), is the national trade association for the consumer credit industry, protecting access to credit and consumer choice. Its 400 members include traditional installment lenders, vehicle finance/leasing companies, consumer and commercial finance companies, mortgage lenders and servicers, payment card issuers, industrial banks and industry suppliers. For more information, visit www.afsaonline.org

About CBA
The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the trade association for today's leaders in retail banking - banking services geared toward consumers and small businesses. The nation's largest financial institutions, as well as many regional banks, are CBA corporate members, collectively holding two-thirds of the industry's total assets. CBA’s mission is to preserve and promote the retail banking industry as it strives to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business. For more information, visit www.consumerbankers.com .

About CUNA

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America’s credit unions, which are owned by more than 100 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit www.cuna.org.

About FSR

The Financial Services Roundtable represents the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, payment and investment products and services to the American consumer. Member companies participate through the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives nominated by the CEO. FSR member companies provide fuel for America’s economic engine, accounting for $92.7 trillion in managed assets, $1.2 trillion in revenue, and 2.3 million jobs. Learn more at www.FSRoundtable.org.

About NAFCU

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) is the only national trade association focusing exclusively on federal issues affecting the nation’s federally-insured credit unions. NAFCU membership is direct and provides credit unions with the best in federal advocacy, education and compliance assistance. For more information on NAFCU, go to www.nafcu.org or @NAFCU on Twitter.

About ETA
The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $5 trillion in purchases in the U.S. and deploying payments innovations to merchants and consumers. For more information, visit www.electran.org.