Week Ahead: FCC's robocall rules in spotlight

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Both chambers of Congress have a busy – though abbreviated – week following their Memorial Day recess.

Robocalling rears its head again

The ongoing debate concerning robocalling continues as the Federal Communications Commission meets to consider a declaratory ruling and third further notice of proposed rulemaking. The proposed rulemaking would clarify that voice service providers may impose a default that would block calls so long as consumers are informed and have the chance to opt out of blocking. The rulemaking also seeks to clarify if voice service providers can offer an option to block calls from numbers that do not appear on a customer’s contacts list or “white list,” which would operate on an opt-in basis.

This has ruffled the feathers of credit unions and trades, including the Credit Union National Association.

“There’s a lot of problems with what the FCC is proposing,” said Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer of CUNA.

“We have concerns that credit unions calls may be blocked, that credit unions may not know that their calls may have been blocked, and that the consumers will not know that they are not receiving calls from their credit unions,” he said.

According to Donovan, the FCC received several hundreds of comments, including many from concerned credit unions. But the FCC intends to move forward, Donovan said.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions intends to meet with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week to discuss robocalls, which have increased in frequency. A report from caller ID Service HIYA discovered that robocalls surged by 325% worldwide from 2018.

Congress will be out on Wednesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, ensuring Monday and Tuesday are filled with hearings.

National Flood Insurance expected to extend

The House is expected to vote on H.R. 2157, the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019, which would extend the National Flood Insurance Program to Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The industry sees the legislation as imperative for credit unions in operating in areas that are prone to natural disasters or flooding.

The House will also consider H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which was introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif. The bill would provide protection from deportation to so called “dreamers” and those with temporary protected status and deferred enforced departure status. The bill would also give those groups a path to obtaining permanent legal status in the U.S. so long that they meet certain requirements. Credit unions operating on the U.S.-Mexico border likely will be impacted, and could potentially serve a new member base if the bill were to become law.

Confronting China

The Senate Banking Committee is set for a hearing about threats from China, among other topics. President Trump’s trade war with China has already trickled down to grocery stores, as Costco's Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti conceded that "prices will go up on things" when asked about the trade war's impact during a call with investors. Coupled with floods, farmers can brace themselves for a tough year ahead.

The Senate is also expected to consider S. 1332, a bill that would set the budget the government for fiscal year 2020.

The House Financial Services will hold separate hearings on Tuesday on the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and systematic risk of leveraged lending.

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Flood insurance Trade agreements Tariffs Budgets CUNA NAFCU FCC China