Should you be able to autodial that delinquent homeowner?

June 30, 2016 at 9:18 am 1 comment

Right now it’s illegal for you to autodial a delinquent homeowner without their consent but that may be changing and not everyone is happy.

I’ve previously blogged about the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  It   generally requires a caller to obtain the prior express consent of the called party when:  making a non-emergency telemarketing call using an artificial or prerecorded voice to residential telephone lines.

The problem is that the TCPA was passed in the dark ages of 1991 when prerecorded computer generated phone calls sounded like…well prerecorded computer generated phone calls.  Today’s technology makes these phone calls as soothing as talking to the HAL 9000  And they provide an awfully convenient way for a major holder of mortgages to reach out and touch someone.

So last year congress amended the TCPA to permit autodialing  without consent  ”if they are  made solely pursuant to the collection of a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States” which certainly covers loans being serviced on behalf of the GSE’s.

But in its comment letter the FHFA argued that all residential mortgage servicers should be exempt from the TCPA’s prohibition.  This touched a nerve with Ohio  Democratic  Senator  Sherrod Brown, whose name is mentioned as a possible VP pick for Hilary Clinton.  He is quoted in yesterday’s American Banker as  expressing concern that” the FHFA is pushing to subject Americans to more computer-generated phone calls and texts rather than ensuring servicers offer foreclosure alternatives.” Ouch.

Meanwhile, on June 16, the Mortgage Bankers Association petitioned the FCC to exempt all mortgage lenders from the consent requirements as applied to delinquent homeowners.  It argues that the TCPA’s prohibition makes it more difficult for lenders to comply with federal and state regulations requiring lenders to reach out to delinquent homeowners.

Stay tuned. HAL may soon be making phone calls on your behalf.

No Blog tomorrow. Enjoy the holiday.

Entry filed under: Compliance, Regulatory. Tags: .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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