Removing Barriers Blog

Credit Union Concerns Included in SBA Ex parte Communication with the FCC
Posted August 08, 2018 by CUNA Advocacy

Earlier this month, the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy filed an ex parte communication memo with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  In their letter, the SBA shared credit union concerns regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  CUNA’s Small Credit Union Committee requested that the SBA advocate on behalf of credit unions and appreciate their efforts. 

CUNA has urged the FCC to clarify several issues under the TCPA, as it creates compliance burdens and potential liability for credit unions trying to communicate important account information to members. 

“Defining key statutory terms such as an automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) and ‘called party’ and identifying reasonable methods to revoke consent consistent with the TCPA’s language and intent will substantially reduce uncertainty and help mitigate the onslaught of TCPA litigation. The commission should also use this opportunity to update antiquated distinctions between wireless and wireline calls when companies make informational calls to their customers or members, as requested in CUNA’s petition for declaratory ruling.” 

In May, CUNA joined ACA, ABA, MBA, the Chamber and others in requesting FCC Board action, following the DC Circuit’s ruling that the existing automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) interpretation was overbroad.  The petition, filed at the FCC, requests the Commission take action to clarify the definition of ATDS for purposes of the TCPA. 

CUNA requested the FCC “expeditiously” issue a declaratory ruling to clarify the TCPA’s definition of an ATDS, specifically that the FCC: 

  • Confirm that to be an ATDS, equipment must use a random or sequential number generator to store or produce numbers and dial those numbers without human intervention; and 

  • Find that only calls made using actual ATDS capabilities are subject to the TCPA's restrictions. 

CUNA has also advocated that the FCC use their oversight authority to modernize the TCPA more broadly, and to permit an exception for wireless calls from credit unions to their members, with whom an established business relationship exists. 

On behalf of America’s credit unions and their 110 million members, CUNA will continue to take a 360 degree approach to advocating for reforms to the TCPA.