May 16, 2019

NAFCU meets with regulators, engages with lawmakers on TCPA

phoneNAFCU's award-winning advocacy team is active this week sharing credit unions' perspective on a number of issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), including the definition of an "autodialer," need for TCPA reform and the administration of the reassigned numbers database. The association will meet today with the Treasury Department to discuss these issues and more.

Joint trades meeting with Treasury

Today, NAFCU will meet at the Treasury Department and will be joined by other industry trades to discuss various TCPA reform efforts, including the Treasury's recommendations from last year that the TCPA should be modernized and the FCC should provide clear guidance on reasonable methods for consumers to revoke consent under the TCPA.

The group will also discuss recent legislative efforts to combat illegal robocalls and how the Treasury can work with the FCC and Congress to address autodialer concerns and clarity under the TCPA.

NAFCU Director of Regulatory Affairs Ann Kossachev and Regulatory Affairs Counsel Mahlet Makonnen will attend today's meeting.

Reassigned numbers database

NAFCU has long advocated for the creation of a reassigned numbers database to aid in the elimination of illegal robocalls. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a rulemaking to create the database, which also included a safe harbor for inadvertent calls made because of database errors; NAFCU had advocated for a safe harbor but recommended a broader one than the FCC finalized.

The FCC also decided to merge the administration of the reassigned numbers database with the existing North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA) and Pooling Administrator (PA) systems, and use an independent third-party administrator to oversee the database.

In a letter to the FCC Wednesday, Makonnen reiterated the association's belief that the database should be administered by the FCC. She also urged the commission to reject a petition that requested the FCC reconsider its decision to merge the database with NANPA and PA. The FCC, in its final rule, indicated that this consolidation would achieve the greatest operational and cost efficiencies.

NAFCU argued that the FCC's approach in the order would likely provide more cost benefits to credit unions and shield them from ongoing litigation risk because the database could be created sooner. Makonnen also urged the FCC to reconsider its decision on the safe harbor and provide more comprehensive coverage from TCPA liability for database users.

Read the full letter here.

Definition of "autodialer" and other TCPA reforms

NAFCU has actively worked with the FCC on efforts to modernize the TCPA for more than three years. The association has previously shared its concerns related to the definition of an autodialer and the need for clarity under the TCPA to ensure credit unions can contact their members without fear of breaking the law.

Congress is currently considering legislation to combat illegal robocalls and NAFCU has stressed the need to distinguish legitimate calls – such as those from credit unions to members on important account information – from illegal, harassing ones.

Just this week, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler reiterated the association's support for a broad definition of autodialer as the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communication and Technology heard from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and other FCC commissioners Wednesday.

The association so far this year has shared these concerns with the Senate Commerce Committee, a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and the FCC.