March 31, 2020

NAFCU, trades to FCC: Allow FIs to communicate coronavirus-related information with members


NAFCU Monday joined with other financial services trade associations to ask the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure financial services providers can contact consumers on matters related to the coronavirus pandemic during the national emergency.

In the petition, the coalition urged the FCC to issue an expedited declaratory ruling, clarification or waiver that states autodialed or prerecorded calls placed by credit unions regarding the coronavirus pandemic are exempt “calls made necessary in any situation affecting the health and safety of consumers" using an autodialer or prerecorded voice message without prior consent. The groups asked for the exemption for informational calls and texts intended to:

  • offer payment deferrals, fee waivers, extension of repayment terms, or modification, forbearance or other delays in loan payments;
  • advise consumers of branch closings, service limitations, reduced hours, or the availability of remote banking or other remote access options;
  • to warn consumers of potential fraud on their account; or
  • to make consumers aware of programs, relief, and resources offered by the institution in response to the pandemic.

Earlier this year, the association joined with more than a dozen other trade groups and stakeholders, in a follow up to a petition filed in May 2018, to ask the FCC to clarify the definition of autodialer under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The coalition previously petitioned the FCC for clarification following an appeals court's decision that invalidated the FCC's autodialer definition.

NAFCU has actively worked with the FCC on efforts to modernize the TCPA for several years and will continue its advocacy to ensure credit unions can contact their members regarding important, time-sensitive information without fear of frivolous litigation. The association has met with staff from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's office and the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Office to share credit union concerns.

Most recently, NAFCU reiterated concerns about the erroneous blocking of legitimate credit union calls resulting from FCC guidance intended to combat illegal robocalls in response to a notice and request for comment about the implementation and effectiveness of call blocking measures.