On March 1, 2019, the Peoples Bank and Trust Company (“Bank”) agreed to a stipulation and order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) based in part on alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The FDIC’s TCPA action order also alleged that the Bank violated Section 8(i)(2) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 U.S.C. § 1818(i)(2) and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1).

Why is the FDIC brining a TCPA action?

The FDIC’s TCPA Allegations

The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government created in 1933 that insures deposits in the nation’s banks and savings associations, examines and supervises them for operational safety and soundness, and examines them for compliance with consumer protection laws.

In the FDIC’s TCPA action, the FDIC determined that the Bank violated the TCPA and its implementing regulations by: “[1] continuously calling consumers who were already [registered] on the National Do Not Call Registry or [2] who had requested to be placed on the Bank’s internal Do Not Call List.” In addition, the FDIC determined that the Bank violated Section 5 of the FTC Act based on the conduct of its telemarketers who misrepresented themselves to consumers as employees or affiliates of the federal government.

TCPA Settlement

The Bank agreed to accept a consent agreement with the FDIC without admitting or denying violations of either law or regulation. The Bank agreed to a civil penalty in the amount of $200,000.00 to be paid to the Treasury of the United States. In addition, the Bank was ordered not to seek or accept indemnity from any third-party to recover all or part of the civil penalty.

TCPA Actions

For those operating in the marketing industry, and, in this instance, the banking industry, this is a stark reminder that TCPA actions may be brought by various federal agencies in addition to civil litigation initiated by plaintiff’s firms. As always, it is imperative for businesses to work closely with knowledgeable counsel prior to engaging in any telemarketing campaign.