On June 6th the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve its default call-blocking order. As illustrated in the last edition of Creating Influence, there is nationwide concern that the order will lead to credit unions being unable to reach members with important information, with members unaware the calls have been blocked. However, thanks to the work of credit unions around the country, the order does include a newly created mechanism for challenging erroneous call blocking. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on the 5th that the proposal had been modified in response to feedback to include a “safety valve” to allow legitimate callers to file complaints with voice carriers over erroneously blocked calls. This “safety valve” was something CUNA urged for in its comment letter.
During the final rulemaking meeting, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly raised concerns similar to what was shared by credit unions, stating the order could result in unintended consequences and that legitimate businesses utilize programs that could fall under the definition of “robocalls” to contact consumers with important information. The FCC unveiled the proposal several weeks ago, with a shorter-than-usual comment deadline. Credit unions, Leagues and CUNA responded with an action alert, with more than 1,000 individuals reaching out to the FCC with letters describing concerns and urging changes to the proposal so that credit unions can continue to communicate and provide members with critical information.
These concerns were also highlighted in the national media, with Georgia’s Marshall Boutwell, CEO of Peach State FCU, illustrating the need for some common-sense fixes to the first proposed rule from the FCC in the Credit Union Journal, sharing that “While there are many regulatory burdens for credit unions, one of the most concerning at this time is the proposed actions by the [Federal Communications Commission] to allow voice service providers to block calls on behalf of consumers. While we understand and agree that there is a need to stop robocalls as many times they are fraudulent and annoying, this action would obstruct our ability to communicate with our members.” Our thanks to all the credit unions who engaged on this matter so quickly to get the FCC to move off of their hardline original stance.