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CBA Joint-Trade FCC COVID-19 Petition on Emergency Designation
The American Bankers Association (ABA), American Financial Services Association (AFSA), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) (collectively, the Associations) request an expedited declaratory ruling, clarification, or waiver stating that phone calls and text messages placed by banks, credit unions, and other customer-facing financial services providers (collectively, financial institutions) using an automatic telephone dialing system (autodialer) or prerecorded or artificial voice on matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic are “call[s] made for emergency purposes,” and thus may be placed without the consent of the called party, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A) (Emergency Purposes Exception, or Exception).
Specifically, these phone calls and text messages (collectively, calls) may include outreach to customers and members (hereinafter referred to collectively, as consumers) to offer payment deferrals, fee waivers, extension of repayment terms, or other delays in payment, modification, or forbearance on mortgage payments or other loans; to advise consumers of branch closings, service limitations, reduced hours, or the availability of remote banking or other remote access options; to warn consumers of potential fraud on the consumer’s account; or otherwise to make consumers aware of programs, relief, and resources offered by the institution in response to the pandemic. The calls that the Associations seek to place under the Emergency Purposes Exception are solely informational calls made in good faith to assist consumers and do not include calls that contain advertising or telemarketing or seek to collect payment on a debt.2 These time-sensitive calls must be placed using automated means. Manual dialing does not achieve timely notification of consumers.