Removing Barriers Blog

CFPB Director Writes to FCC Chairman regarding COVID-19 Communications
Posted April 28, 2020 by Chandler Schuette

CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger wrote to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to voice her support for allowing financial institutions to use certain automated calls to alert consumers about relief options available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic without violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Last week, CUNA wrote to the FCC asking the Commission to find that calls or texts relaying information related to financial relief efforts and other actions necessitated by the governments' response to COVID-19 fall within the emergency purposes exception to the proscriptions of the TCPA that bar autodialed calls to cell phones without prior consent.   

In this week’s letter, the CFPB Director stated the Bureau “has sought every avenue through stakeholders and fellow agencies to increase consumer awareness of the various relief options that may be available to them, including those available due to government actions and those made available by their financial institutions.” 

The letter went on to say, “[a] limited number of automated calls from financial institutions to their customers alerting them to offers of forbearance; payment deferrals; fee waivers; extension or relaxation of payment terms; loan modifications; and other programs, relief and resources relating to loans secured by homes or vehicles is an important avenue to ensuring consumers know the various options that may be available to them.” 

The CFPB Director also pointed out that these communications are already subject to other existing consumer protection statutes, such as the Bureau’s mortgage servicing rules and the prohibition on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices.