Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Files Comments Supporting TCPA Reforms

In a comment filed in response to the Petition for Reconsideration for the August 2016 Report and Order (R&O) Implementing the Budget Act, CUNA outlined concerns with the Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

In our letter, we outline why the fatal flaws in the FCC’s rule implementing the Budget Act mirror the fatal flaws of the July 2015 TCPA Order on a broader scale as it applies to all businesses and financial institutions communicating with consumers on their cell phones. 

We explain to the FCC why its interpretation of this law in its rule has many of the same problems of its July 2015 TCPA Order, which shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the need to communicate with consumers in a timely and efficient manner.  

Specifically, we explain that limiting the exemption to include only three calls per month does little to improve communications with consumers, as does unnecessarily impeding the ability to call reassigned numbers. The letter then urges the FCC to reconsider the following in its rule: 

Allow the exemption to cover more than three calls per month; 

  • Allow the exemption to cover calls that reach a reassigned number beyond a one-call safe harbor; and 

  • Clarify that federally guaranteed mortgage debt and small business administration loans are included in the exemption. 

 As an overarching matter, the letter also urges the FCC to reevaluate its larger interpretation of the TCPA, which imposes significant impediments on the ability of financial institutions, such as credit unions, to communicate with their members. We state that the FCC should reconsider the July 2015 TCPA Order in its entirety and reevaluate whether a more appropriate interpretation of the TCPA could protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls while still allowing consumers to receive timely communications from their credit union and other community financial institutions. 

In closing, we note that the Petition for Reconsideration is a good first step in fixing some of the many problems the recent TCPA guidance has caused for consumers and those seeking to contact them. However, we urge the FCC to take a more wholescale approach to rectifying the conflicting and overly complex requirements under the TCPA.