CUNA Comment Letter

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Proposal

June 19, 1998

Secretary Donald S. Clark
Federal Trade Commission
Room H-159
Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20580

RE: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Dear Secretary Clark:

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the procedures for state application for exemption from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA prohibits a number of deceptive, unfair and abusive practices by third party collectors. The agency's regulations permit states to apply for an exemption from this federal law if the Federal Trade Commission determines that the state law debt collection practices requirements and enforcement provisions are substantially similar to those imposed by the FDCPA. For purposes of background, CUNA represents over 11,000 state and federally chartered credit unions across the United States.

CUNA supports the concept of state exemptions from federal law when the state legislature has passed a substantially similar state law. We further support the option of local enforcement of such laws. CUNA urges the agency to maintain the procedures to permit states to apply for exemption from FDCPA at the least cost and burden to the states applying for the option.

Since only the state of Maine has applied for this exemption, there is little information available in regard to the costs or benefits the procedures impose on consumers. However, our understanding is that the experience of the state of Maine has been that the cost and the administrative burden of the current procedures are reasonable. Thus, we do not recommend any substantive changes to the current procedures.

One technical amendment CUNA recommends, is that section 901.2, which currently requires that all applications be submitted in writing, be amended to allow for electronic applications over the Internet. Section 901.2 requires the full text of the pertinent sections of the state law to be included as supporting documentation with the application. Many states have their statutes available on disc or on the Internet and may find an electronic application option less burdensome.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this issue.

Sincerely,

Colleen Kelly
Regulatory Staff Attorney