NAFCU has actively engaged with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to share the credit union perspective on Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)-related issues. In February 2019, senior NAFCU staff attended meetings with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s, Commissioner Brendan Carr's and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly's staffs to seek clarity on a number of issues, including the definition of an autodialer. On May 14, 2018, NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and other NAFCU staff met with Chairman Pai to discuss the current approach to TCPA rulemaking in light of the D.C. Circuit’s decision in ACA International v. FCC. In spring 2018, NAFCU, along with other trade groups, attended meetings with FCC Chairman Pai's staff as well as Commissioner O'Rielly's staff to discuss possible steps after the D.C. Circuit’s decision. Since the court issued its opinion, NAFCU has continued to advocate for credit unions as the FCC considers how to proceed with regard to TCPA rulemaking.
In June 2019, the FCC approved a declaratory ruling that will allow voice service providers to automatically block suspected robocalls unless a consumer opts out. NAFCU met with FCC Chairman Pai's staff in May 2019 to share concerns that credit unions' calls to members could be erroneously blocked if the ruling was implemented without changes, and joined with nine other trades to voice these concerns in a letter. In consideration of these issues, the FCC added language that allows legitimate callers to file complaints with the providers for mistakenly blocked calls. Also in June 2019, the FCC approved publication of a proposal to require phone companies to incorporate a caller identification framework called SHAKEN/STIR. NAFCU joined with several other trade groups to offer support for the SHAKEN/STIR framework and provide additional recommendations to ensure that wanted calls are not blocked.
NAFCU has also responded to the FCC’s recent requests for comments on various TCPA-related issues. In June 2018, NAFCU submitted aarguing that equipment qualifies as an autodialer only if “it has the capacity to dial numbers without human intervention,” and if equipment is not being used as an autodialer, it should not be subject to prohibitions under the TCPA. Additionally, NAFCU sent a to the FCC in support of the creation of a single, FCC-designated reassigned numbers database and a safe harbor from TCPA liability. In December 2018, the FCC unanimously approved a to create the NAFCU-sought single, reassigned numbers database to aid in the elimination of illegal robocalls. The rule also includes a safe harbor for inadvertent calls made because of database errors, for which NAFCU advocated.
On the legislative side, TCPA-related issues are gaining momentum in Congress. NAFCU has continued to engage with lawmakers as they contemplate legislative fixes to combat illegal robocalls to ensure that credit union concerns are taken into account. In April 2019, NAFCU offered support for S. 151, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, legislation to enhance the FCC’s enforcement authority over violations of the TCPA and require voice service providers to authenticate and block illegal robocalls. NAFCU has also advocated for several changes to the bill related to the "intent" requirement for a TCPA violation, STIR/SHAKEN call authentication framework and correcting any unintended blocking by voice service providers. In May 2019, the Senate passed the TRACED Act in a 97-1 vote. In July 2019, the House passed H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, by a 429-3 vote. NAFCU praised the House Energy and Commerce Committee for its work on the legislation, while also urging the House to engage with the FCC to ensure that clarifying regulations are promptly issued if H.R. 3375 becomes law.