May 19, 2020
SENT BY EMAIL
The Honorable Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Pai:
I am writing in regard to a petition (“Petition”) filed with the Federal Communications Commission on March 30, 2020. The Petition seeks the Commission’s determination that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain automated calls would fall under the Emergency Purposes Exception of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The types of automated calls the associations would like the Commission to find permissible include three broad categories: options for loan modifications, changes to how consumers access their institution’s services, and warnings about potential fraud. I also understand the CFPB has contacted you on this issue.
The NCUA has supported and encouraged federally insured credit unions in their efforts to provide credit union members with prudent debt relief and help members understand the range of relief possibilities.1 Consumers may benefit from additional information about the various loan relief programs and options that may be available to them. Autodialed calls providing information about payment deferrals, fee waivers, loan term extensions, other loan modifications, and forbearance could assist consumers during this challenging time.
The Petition noted that the type of automated calls for which financial institutions are seeking permission would not include calls related to advertising, telemarketing, or seeking payment on a debt. Financial institutions must remain subject to the TCPA’s existing restrictions on autodialed advertising and debt collection calls. Finally, I note that federally insured credit unions, like other financial institutions, remain subject to all other consumer protection laws that apply to any loans that are the subject of autodialed calls.
Thank you for considering this matter.
If you have any questions or would like more information about the NCUA’s perspective, please call me or have your staff contact Gisele Roget, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director, Office of External Affairs and Communications at 703.518.6330 or GRoget@NCUA.gov.
Rodney E. Hood
1 E.g., Letter to Credit Unions 20-CU-13, “Working with Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic” (April 2020).