ABA, Trade Groups Urge FCC to Facilitate COVID-19-Related Calls

As banks seek to contact customers with COVID-19-related information, the American Bankers Association and six other financial trade groups filed a petition requesting that the Federal Communications Commission issue an expedited declaratory ruling or waiver confirming that financial institutions’ COVID-19-related calls are exempt from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s requirements. The TCPA requires banks and other callers to obtain the customer’s prior express consent prior to placing an autodialed call, but exempts calls placed for “emergency purposes.”

The trade groups urged the FCC to confirm that COVID-19-related calls placed by financial institutions fall within the emergency purposes exception. “If financial institutions cannot freely communicate with consumers, it will thwart the directives issued by the [CFPB] and the federal banking agencies encouraging financial institutions to ‘work constructively’ with consumers impacted by COVID-19,” the groups wrote. “Constructive engagement with consumers is best achieved by proactive communication via automated phone call or text message by the institution.”