The MBA compliance committee met yesterday, and Don Heikkinen offered some general updates. (No bill numbers.) One of the hot topics is a pair of bills currently in conference committee on telemarketing restrictions.

Excerpt from my notes: "Senate bill good, House bill bad". The Senate version is more favorable to our industry, while the House bill offers very little by way of exemptions. In fact, all that's on the table right now are exemptions for campaign contribution solicitations (go figure); charities; higher ed; and securities brokers within their 'rescission equivalent' window.

The real key - you could only contact your existing customer and discuss your existing account (under the House bill). Consider: You could call about an overdraft, but not promote or discuss the availability of overdraft protection. I don't know about you, but my bank has managed to encourage sales staff to cross-sell - we even incent for it in certain circumstances. This kind of legislation pushes us back towards the 'order-taker' position.

There is likelihood that the conference committee will reach a conclusion & get the bill out before the fall campaigns really heat up. After all, wouldn't you personally vote for the guy who made the dinnertime phone interruptions go away?? The bad news is, the unofficial tally of the 6-person conference committee is 5 for the House version vs 1 for the Senate version. MBA is trying to stall the process, but dark clouds are gathering...
Opinions are Bartman's, not those of my employer. "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."