Northwest Credit Unions Offer Strong Response to TCPA Ruling

The Association has been working closely with CUNA to develop a comprehensive strategy in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) recent Telecommunications Protection Act (TCPA) Declaratory Ruling, which has negative consequences for credit union members.

“We were on top of this issue early on,” said John Trull, AVP of Regulatory Advocacy for the Association. “We leveraged the CUNA/League system and organized a call with CUNA and credit unions across the country to discuss our approach.”

This week CUNA took the next step on behalf of credit unions when a team led by Elizabeth Eurgubian, CUNA’s Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Regulatory and Executive Branch Relations and Senior Counsel, met with the FCC to discuss relief for credit unions detrimentally impacted, or that have the potential to be detrimentally impacted by the order.

“The way that the FCC defined auto dialer appears to include all modern phone systems, and the declaratory ruling may have unintended consequences for credit union members,” said Eric Kiley, Associate General Counsel at SELCO. “Here at SELCO we have put significant restrictions on outgoing calls to members, which limits our ability to offer our members new products and services that could benefit them financially.”

CUNA led the efforts to send a joint letter to Capitol Hill urging the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee to hold a hearing to review the order. The letter urged Congress to update the antiquated TCPA to reflect today’s technology, and to address the confusion created by the TCPA order. It also expressed frustration that the order was not put out in a typical Notice and Comment period, depriving the public and Congress an opportunity to weigh in on the substance of it.

Kiley was part the Fall Hike the Hill team that helped further our joint advocacy efforts, raising awareness on the hill and with the NCUA on this critical issue. The Association was able to bring this issue up directly with the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology committee staff, which oversees the FCC and is chaired by Oregon Representative Greg Walden.

“This was a unique opportunity that demonstrates the importance of local relationships with our congressional delegation and the importance of the CUNA/League system,” said Jennifer Wagner, SVP of Advocacy for the Association. “Credit unions were definitely not the intended target of this order and our congressional delegation was shocked to hear of the potential impacts on credit unions.”

In August, CUNA sent a letter to the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA) Office of Consumer Protection outlining concerns with the Order. While the NCUA does not have jurisdiction over the TCPA, CUNA wanted to highlight the problems credit unions may have with the Order such as substantial compliance burdens, and being subject to frivolous class-action litigation surrounding the TCPA. Moreover, the letter expressed concerns that credit union members will not be able to receive important communications that they want and need such as fraud alerts or other pertinent account information because of the Order.

The Association lent additional support to this effort during Fall Hike the Hill, familiarizing NCUA Chair Debbie Matz and Board Member McWatters with the issue and the impact it was having on credit unions. We asked them to direct Gail Laster, who heads the NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection, to dialogue directly with FCC Chair Wheeler and his staff to mitigate the harm the ruling would have on credit union members.

Finally, CUNA’s advocacy team is in the process of preparing an amicus brief in support of litigation challenging the Order.

“The CUNA/League/Credit Union strategy on this issue is an advocacy best practice,” said John Trull, AVP of Regulatory Advocacy for the Association. “The multifaceted approach, including regulatory, legislative, and legal outreach will ensure credit unions’ voice is represented at all levels of dialog.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, CUNA, NCUA.