ABA Urges Protection for Banks’ Informational Calls to Customers

In a comment letter this week, the American Bankers Association urged the Federal Communications Commission not to impose additional restrictions on the ability of banks and other businesses to contact their customers with account-related information. The letter was sent in response to the FCC’s request for comment on whether the agency should modify the existing exemptions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s requirement that autodialed calls be placed only with the consumer’s prior express consent.

Noting that the TCPA was enacted primarily to combat intrusive and unwanted telemarketing calls, ABA urged the FCC not to limit the number of calls that a bank may place under the exemption for informational calls to residential phone numbers. Additionally, if the FCC permits consumers to opt out of such calls, the agency should require that the customer may opt out only through clearly defined and easy-to-use opt-out methods provided by the bank, ABA said.

ABA also urged the FCC to remove the condition on the TCPA’s exemption for financial institutions’ fraud alerts and data breach notifications that permits exempted calls only to a number provided by the customer. The association also asked the Commission to permit three exempted breach and fraud-related messages to each authorized user on the account, and to clarify that a message that protects the consumer from fraud may exceed the 160-character limit if the content in the message is limited to certain specified information.