Mortgage lenders can continue to fax "rate" sheets without getting prior permission from mortgage brokers under a bill just passed by Congress.The bill (S. 714) restores an exemption for sending unsolicited faxes to individuals and entities where there is an existing business relationship, according to Michael Briggs, chief legal officer of America's Community Bankers. It "will ensure that the Federal Communications Commission's flawed regulations do not impede the flow of important information," he said. Under legislation passed in 2003, the FCC adopted a rule that would have required lenders to get express written permission from brokers to send a fax. ACB and other industry groups successfully petitioned the FCC to postpone the effective date, which has maintained the status quo for the past two years. Now Congress has responded by passing S. 714, which restores the "established business relationship" exemption from the general ban on sending junk faxes and also provides an "opt-out" mechanism for recipients of unsolicited faxes. President Bush is expected to sign the bill soon.

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