CUNA, Leagues urge immediate FCC action on TCPA petition

February 19, 2020

Nearly three years have passed since CUNA submitted its petition for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) clarity with no action, CUNA and all 35 state Credit Union Leagues wrote the agency Wednesday. Since then, the organizations note, judicial interpretations surrounding the TCPA have become increasingly more contradictory.

CUNA and leagues have called for clarity from the FCC since its 2015 TCPA ruling, which has led to uncertainty over credit unions being able to contact members with important account information without being exposed to legal action.

CUNA’s petition, submitted in September 2017, asked the FCC to clarify the TCPA applicability to information calls made to a wireless phone by either:

  • Adopting an establishing business relationship (EBR) exemption from the prior consent requirement for credit union informational calls and text messages to cell phones; or alternatively
  • Exempting credit union information calls or texts from the prior consent requirement if they are in fact free to the called party under the called party’s wireless plan.

“The different treatment of informational calls to cell phones and landlines is antiquated, unfair, and fails to reflect how the vast majority of consumers communicate today. Adoption of either of the Petition’s proposed exemptions would restore the balance that Congress sought to achieve between consumers’ privacy interests and the legitimate interests of businesses to communicate with their consumers,” the letter reads. “With the uncertainty stemming from a confusing patchwork of contradictory court interpretations continuing to threaten credit unions’ legitimate business obligations to inform members, the need for the Commission to act is immediate. Accordingly, we urge the FCC to promptly grant the Petition.”

The letter also highlights the relationship that exists between credit unions and member-owners which spawns a variety of communications, including timely financial information to governance and financial education.

“Members welcome and expect this information. When a credit union conveys such information to a member at her home over a landline connection, the call does not require the member’s prior consent,” the letter reads. “If the member, however, takes that same call at home on a cell phone, the rules are completely different.”