WASHINGTON—Both credit union trade groups are again calling on Congress to do something about robo-calls—without harming CUs’ abilities to communicate with members.
Mobile phone usage trends suggest that the Federal Communications Commission’s existing interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and implementing regulations is both outdated and harmful to consumers and credit unions, CUNA wrote to the Senate this week.
CUNA sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government for the record of its hearing on the FCC and Federal Trade Commission budget this week.
“As you consider the FCC’s fiscal budget for the upcoming year, it is imperative that Congress encourage the FCC to modernize its implementing regulations for the TCPA,” the letter reads, adding that the unique relationship between members and credit unions spawns a variety of communication between the two, everything from account information to governance issues.
CUNA’s letter notes that the rules for contacting consumers are completely different for landlines and mobile phones, and that this distinction is “antiquated and unfair and fails to reflect how the vast majority of consumers communicate today.”
CUNA cites a Centers for Disease Control study that found more than 50% of Americans only use a cell phone, a rate that will continue to rise.
“At the same time that consumers are abandoning landline phones, cell phone use is becoming less and less expensive… These trends suggest that the rationale for the FCC’s existing interpretation of the TCPA and implementing regulations are not only outdated, but also harmful to both consumers and the credit unions that serve them,” the letter reads. “Accordingly, we urge Congress to hold the FCC accountable for its failure to modernize the TCPA and reiterate the need for the Commission to undertake rulemaking efforts that are line with modern technological practices.”
NAFCU, in its own letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, asked Congress to ensure that efforts to stop illegal robocalls do not hamper a credit union's ability to freely communicate with members.
Thaler reiterated the association's concerns related to the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system and the need for clarity under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
"NAFCU supports a broad definition of 'autodialer' that only includes equipment that uses a random or sequential number generator to store or produce numbers and dial those numbers without human intervention," wrote Thaler.