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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Eight banks are fighting Indiana Do Not Call law

Friday, March 4, 2005

Do you crave unwanted phone calls at home again?

There are some organizations working against the current law.

Although Indiana's Do Not Call law was created to stop telemarketers from contacting consumers at home, eight banks stand in opposition to the law and are petitioning the Federal Communications Commission for permission to call customers at home.

Locally, Fifth Third Bank wants the Indiana law changed. Fifth Third Bank Public Relations Director Natalie Guzman said the issue isn't as negative as it sounds.

"The consumers are still in charge," Guzman said. They can still say don't call.

She said Fifth Third Bank and other banks in the Consumer Bankers Association just want to be able to call their customers at home to tell them "various things" such as if CD rates are about to change. Currently the bank can't call customers to tell them of the changes.

However, Indiana State Attorney General Steve Carter said banks like Fifth Third are, "trying to take the decision away from the consumer."

Carter said that if Fifth Third customers want phone calls regarding CD rates, they simply have to ask to receive the calls.

"Fifth Third is saying we're going to Washington with the FCC and wipe out the Indiana law," he said.

"The CBA wants the ability to contact people they have established a business relationship with. This means any company you do business with now -- your bank, your phone company, your mortgage company, credit card companies -- could contact you to sell more products and services each time you pay a monthly bill. It also means all companies you do business with on a daily basis would have the ability to contact you over an 18-month period," according to information released from Carter's office.

The banks invovled in the CBA may have legitimate reasons for their actions, but Carter said consumers don't want to be bothered.

Guzman said she is personally on the Do Not Call list along with her company's CEO. She also estimated that probably 95 percent of its employees were as well.

"We appreciate the attorney general's position," Guzman said.

Some people think, "the law's going to change and you're going to receive hundreds of phone calls and that's not true," she said.

"People have a right to their opinion either way," Guzman said.

Originally 11 banks sided with the CBA, but after Carter launched SaveDoNotCall.com in early February, three banks all headquartered in Indiana reversed their positions. The three banks are Integra, Old National and Union Federal.

Carter said so far there have been no other banks switching positions, but "All eight (banks in opposition to the Indiana law) are out -of-state controlled banks."

"I encourage people to contact their banks or any of these banks and let them know how they feel," Carter said.

If the CBA comes out on top, Carter said, "It will literally result in thousands of phone calls," consumers don't want.

Banks that remain in opposition to the Indiana law include Fifth Third, Bank One, Huntington, KeyBank, National City, PNC, Stockyards and Well Fargo.

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