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The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to exempt mortgage servicing calls from the prior express consent requirements included in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The trade group requested this limited exception in order to build communication between borrowers and their servicers, especially homeowners that are struggling to make mortgage payments. The MBA’s petition observed that federal regulators including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of the Treasury along with many states have mandated protocols for using outbound communications to delinquent homeowners.
"Outbound residential mortgage servicing calls are critical to ensure borrowers understand available options to avoid foreclosure and its financially damaging repercussions," the petition said. "Given their importance and benefit to borrowers, these communications are mandated by multiple federal and state laws, regulations and requirements. However, residential mortgage servicers face uncapped statutory penalties for each call attempt made pursuant to these requirements."
The MBA added that the TCPA includes the threat of liability if servicers use outbound communications to cell phones. The petition noted the ubiquity of cell phone communications, both voice and text, and assured the FCC that any outbound communications would be maintained under federal regulatory guidelines.
"This exemption will confirm that complying with borrower outreach requirements will not subject mortgage servicers to liability under the TCPA and will ensure that calls to borrowers are treated fairly under the TCPA, regardless of who may own or insure the mortgage at any given time," the petition said. "The TCPA was not intended to obstruct effective communications between mortgage servicers and their borrowers."