Is it Legal to Record the Bank’s Phone Call or Conversation?

Lender and servicer modification abuse, dual tracking and deceptive business practices have caused undue emotional stress on homeowners. The Courts usually demand a precise record in order to establish a claim against the banks and their pals. Foreclosure is a dirty business and you need to have the right tools and knowledge to make your points.

RECORD A CALLYou’ll notice that the banks and servicers normally will not correspond to homeowners using email. The banks prefer homeowners fax their information and the banks use the telephone letting you know they are recording their calls.

It’s time to turn the tables. Take good notes and keep a complete file of all your conversations and correspondence with the banks and servicers – but you may also want and need to record the telephone conversations you have with the banks. Here are some tips from a private investigator on the legality of recording telephone conversations. Click here for the latest telephone recording devices. 

Private Investigator Tips: Is it Legal to Record a Phone Call or Conversation?


“We are frequently asked if it is legal to record a phone call or conversation. The answer is not as simple as you may think,” writes Brian Willingham.  Click here for the Diligentia Group investigative firm.
“There are various state and federal statutes that apply to the legality of recording a conversation. The information below is by no means comprehensive. If you are contemplating recording a phone call or conversation, you should seek advice from a legal professional.

The Basics: “One-Party Consent” vs. “Two-Party Consent”

The District of Columbia and 39 states are one-party consent, and 11 states are two-party consent (see table below). A one-party consent state permits individuals to record conversations to which they are a party without informing the other parties that they are doing so. In other words, one-party states allow recording of phone calls with the consent of only one of the parties to the conversation.

Based on the name, you would think that a two-party state would require consent of two parties; however, under most circumstances, all of the parties must provide consent.


Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d). This is called a “one-party consent” law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a “one-party consent” law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded.   See the State Law: Recording section of this legal guide for information on state wiretapping laws.

Where One-Party Notification Is Required

Alabama Louisiana Oregon
Alaska Maine Ohio
Arizona Minnesota Rhode Island
Arkansas Mississippi South Carolina
Colorado Missouri South Dakota
District of Columbia Nebraska Tennessee
Georgia Nevada Texas
Hawaii New Jersey Utah
Idaho New Mexico Vermont
Illinois New York Virginia
Indiana North Carolina West Virginia
Iowa North Dakota Wisconsin
Kansas Oklahoma Wyoming

Where Two-Party Notification is Required

Although they are referred to as “two-party consent” laws, consent must be obtained from every party to a phone call or conversation if it involves more than two people.  In some of these states, it might be enough if all parties to the call or conversation know that you are recording and proceed with the communication anyway, even if they do not voice explicit consent.  See the State Law: Recording section for information on specific states’ wiretapping laws.

California Massachusetts New Hampshire
Connecticut Maryland Pennsylvania
Delaware Michigan Washington
Florida Montana

In-Person Conversation vs. Phone Call Recording

voice recorder ipadThis information generally applies to recording a conversation in person. If you are in a one-party state and need to record a conversation in person with another person, you must follow the applicable laws of the state that you are in. Likewise with a two-party state.

However, what if you are recording a phone conversation taking place between two different states that have two different consent requirements? For example, if you are making a phone call from New York (a one-party state) to California (a two-party state), what do you do?

The general rule of thumb is that you should abide by the law of the state with the most strict statute, which in this case would be California.

Other Things to Know

Generally, it is almost always illegal to record a phone call or conversation to which you are not a party.Every state except Vermont has criminal penalties for unlawful recording.

Final Thought

Whether it is legal to record a phone call or conversation is more complicated than you may think.”

“We hope this information will serve as a general guide, and is not intended to substitute for expert legal counsel. It is always best to talk with an attorney if you have questions about the legal implications of recording calls in your state.” 

Additional Resources:

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4 thoughts on “Is it Legal to Record the Bank’s Phone Call or Conversation?

  1. The bottom line if your on a call with a servicer is that they are recording the call no matter what “for training purposes” … The other end is already OK with a recording being made and if you don’t record the call what was said never happened.

  2. Pingback: Don’t get Grinched by opportunistic Servicers | Deadly Clear

  3. Reblogged this on California freelance paralegal and commented:
    I suggest telling the servicer that you will not discuss anything over the phone unless they explicitly agree that you will be recording the conversation. If they do not agree hang up and send them a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested putting them on notice that in the future you will not accept any calls from them unless they agree that you have the right to record the call.

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