I’ve heard it said that some companies choose not to do social media or web sites because of the risk. When I hear that I’m perplexed because it is the main form of communication with the highest probable purchase client today. It is also not going to go anywhere and will continue to evolve. Finally, it is imperative if you want to recruit top producing originators.
With all of that said, there are ways to put compliance management systems on marketing and social media just like any other area of risk. As part of the workflow series, here are some things to think about when formulating your policies, training and monitoring.
First and foremost, any employee that is allowed to advertise with your company name, or their name as your employee, should be trained in UDAAP and the FTC requirements as outlined in this link FTC rules
Otherwise they may do something that gets your company into hot water.
How is your company website set up versus the websites of your originators? Ideally, the company manages this from a master site, but each person has their own website where their leads and clients can visit. This allows you to control the content, update disclosures and keep the information compliant.
If you choose to allow loan originators to have their own site, strong policies and procedures should be written as a guide to complying with all laws. Additionally, you will need someone who is tasked with regular review of those sites to avoid any issues. Be mindful that the CFPB is very tech savvy. One of the things they do prior to an exam is to review your websites, google your originators and your company. What they find becomes part of your exam and you do not want to be surprised by this. So as part of your procedures, someone needs to perform this function as well.
Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc!
These are all great marketing tools, but like any marketing with your name tied to it, content has to be monitored. What are the parameters for an acceptable posting? What can they post? What can’t they post that will cause triggers? Do they have any guidance on how to use these tools to outreach to consumers so that they stay out of trouble? Who will monitor and archive this information? What is the penalty for non-compliance?
Print Advertising and Marketing
Flyers, Open-House flyers, mailings, newspapers are all areas where loan originators pretty much did what they wanted to. In today’s world, you not only have to approve and monitor all of this, you also need to archive it. If you have pre-approved templates for loan originator use, what is the policy to send you a copy each time they do something? How will you monitor that they are sending a copy to you?
Design of your marketing materials should be done in a way as to not exclude a prohibited basis client. Additionally, your marketing efforts should include multiple regions of your MSA including underserved and high minority areas. These marketing materials should be written in a way as to describe what you are marketing in a clear manner. For instance, you do not want to advertise a loan program in Spanish and then put the important disclosures in English. That is deceptive.
If the company or loan originators are buying leads are they cause redlining issues? Criteria for viable leads should only be targeted based on program qualifications and not cherry-picking the MSA. If you choose to refer leads to an in-house originator for lower loan amounts or lower credit scores that is a viable option. Just be careful that these loans are not given higher interest rates or fewer program options then a similarly situated client from one of your branches. Otherwise, you have pricing disparity issues.