This will be the last checklist in this segment of your Fair Lending assessment, relating to your market area. Don’t worry, there are more on the way for other topics! Today’s checklist helps you determine your marketing risk. Just like the previous lists, mortgage lenders have to adjust their business plans to accommodate the new regulatory environment. This checklist will help you evaluate your present marketing and how you may need to adjust it to be compliant.
Checklist #4 Marketing:
_____ Make a list of all of your marketing. This includes media, print, social media, originators, radio or anything else you are doing.
_____ When you introduce a new product, how do you roll that out? Is it only to certain areas, if so, is there a reason for that? Will that methodology make sense to an examiner? Do you roll it out to all areas of your MSA? If not, why?
_____ When marketing is expanded or contracted, is strategic thought given to the fair lending plan as well as the marketing plan?
_____ Is your marketing done in a language appropriate for the area you are targeting? If you are using another language, are the disclaimers and disclosure terms in the same language as the marketing piece?
_____ When you market, do you track your results so that if marketing is not working in an area, you have statistical evidence to back up your efforts?
_____ Are all of your marketing messages, including email solicitations and social media from mortgage originators, reviewed and approved by compliance?
_____ How do you monitor what goes out? What are your policies for marketing? How do you reprimand someone who violates that policy? Remember, that the examiner is looking to see that the executive management is engaged and corrective when a problem is found.
_____ If you showed your marketing material to a complete stranger, would they believe that you consider some types of borrowers less desirable? Or, would they see marketing that reaches across all types of clients?
_____ When a TPO uses your materials for marketing, do you know how they are using it and whether they are violating fair lending protocol? You will be responsible for their actions and monitoring them.
_____ Do the TPO’s that you approve to do business with, solicit only one type of client or ethnicity?
_____ Do your marketing materials portray people who you desire as clients, and neglect to portray clients that are more ethnicity/race neutral? Keep it neutral and inclusive!
There is certainly much to think about as we prepare for the massive regulatory changes in January. Hopefully I gave you a head start on the guidelines we already know about.