CUNA outlines TCPA concerns in letter to Senate committee

March 8, 2017

Credit unions and small banks have been plagued by the July 2015 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) order from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), CUNA and the Independent Community Bankers of America wrote Wednesday. The organizations wrote the leadership of the Senate Commerce Committee, which conducted an FCC oversight hearing Wednesday, and the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce communications and technology subcommittee.

CUNA raised concerns that the FCC’s July 2015 TCPA Order is impeding communications between small financial institutions and consumers.

“Ultimately, the July 2015 TCPA order places consumers at risk of not receiving this important account information in a timely manner. Instead the biggest beneficiaries of the FCC’s July 2015 TCPA Order are plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking exorbitant fees,” the letter reads. “We appreciate that [FCC] Chairman [Ajit] Pai and Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly recognize some of the many problems the July 2015 TCPA Order has caused for our members and customers. Going forward, we urge Congress to work closely with the FCC to make common-sense reforms to this order.”

While the order contains an “exemption” for financial institutions, credit unions have reported it to be unworkable in its current form. They have expressed among other concerns, particular uncertainty surrounding the FCC’s requirements for reassigned numbers and how consumers can revoke consent.

Furthermore, the overly broad definition of what is considered an autodialer has left many credit unions and community banks unsure of whether the calling device they are using is even considered an autodialer and whether they are then subject to the TCPA.

“Since often these financial institutions cannot bear the draconian liability of non-compliance associated with the unlimited amount of statutory class action damages associated with the TCPA, they are forced to abandon or limit some of their communications with consumers,” the letter reads.

During the hearing, Committee Chair Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), said the government must work to strike a balance between protecting “consumers from those who are truly the bad actors,” and making sure the rules do not punish “legitimate callers who are not acting maliciously.”

For additional information about the hearing, see CUNA’s Removing Barriers Blog.