Collector - July 2020 - 37

GOVERNMENTAFFAIRS

impacting the ARM industry-including
congressional legislation, Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau rules and Federal
Communications Commission actions
surrounding call blocking and labeling-are
moving ahead at the speed of light.
This means that working with our
members, ACA must remain laser-focused
on getting through the 116th Congress
and 2020 unscathed by harmful legislation
that threatens industry operations. Our
advocacy also needs to remain active
throughout the remainder of the summer
and fall, continuing to urge regulators at
the CFPB and FCC to create rules that take
into account the need to communicate with
consumers using modern technology, and
not impede important communications at
a time when consumers need information
about their financial situations.
As we forge ahead through these strange
times, which have called for a new approach
to advocacy, these are some of the issues that
remain top priorities for the ARM industry.

ENSURING THE SENATE DOES
NOT ADVANCE HARMFUL
LEGISLATION
At the end of 2019, the House Financial
Services Committee marked up and
advanced several bills that would impede
the work of the ARM industry. For example,
H.R. 5021, the Stop Debt Collection
Harassment Act of 2019 introduced by
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.,
would add onerous opt-in requirements-
beyond what is already in the CFPB's
proposed rule-to be able to send texts or
emails. This and several other bills that
seek to obstruct communication with
consumers passed along party lines, with
Democrats supporting and Republicans
opposing. Moreover, several other bills
aimed at limiting communications and
stopping credit reporting were introduced
throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
ACA remains engaged with Congress
about why this type of legislation is harmful
to consumers, and it will be critical over the
next few months, including during the lameduck session, that we make the case for why

COLLECTOR 07.20

the Senate should not advance detrimental
legislation targeting the industry.

MAKING SURE THE CFPB RULE IS
FINALIZED
As a result of COVID-19, many
rulemaking efforts at federal agencies
have come to a screeching halt. As the
ARM industry faces the need to be able
to communicate with consumers using
modern technology, it will be critical that
we continue to work with the CFPB to help
them understand the benefits of finalizing
rules that address the use of email and text
messaging. With a presidential election
in play this fall, it's not clear what the
agency's priorities will be by the end of
this year, and now is the time for the CFPB
to act to finalize their work on the debt
collection rule.

LIMITING HARMFUL CALL
BLOCKING AND LABELING
EFFORTS IN SHAKEN/STIR
Last spring and early summer, the
FCC collected a significant amount
of information about SHAKEN/STIR
plans, including whether there should be
safe harbors for blocking calls and how
calls should be authenticated. ACA led
efforts to highlight the negative impact
of call blocking and mislabeling. As the
FCC continues to create new policies in
these areas, the need to provide data and
engage with the FCC to ensure the calling
community has a voice and a seat at the
table remains of the utmost importance.
Throughout these last few challenging
months, ACA members have stepped up
to the plate to educate lawmakers and
regulators throughout the country about
their work serving consumers, employing
people in their communities and helping
their creditor clients. As we look ahead, it's
essential that these efforts continue, even if
it requires a new social-distancing-friendly
way of engagement.

"With a presidential
election in play this fall,
it's not clear what the
agency's priorities will
be by the end of this
year, and now is the time
for the CFPB to act to
finalize their work on the
debt collection rule."

Leah Dempsey is ACA International's vice
president and senior counsel of federal
advocacy.

37



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