I think everyone can agree that 2020 has been a challenging year. Many banks and credit unions have turned to their digital platforms to stay engaged with their customers/members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now is the perfect time to review compliance concerns as they apply to your digital platforms.
Key Digital Platform Regulations
Digital platform content must meet federal regulations. Financial institutions are regulated by the following agencies:
- The Office of The Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
- The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The FFIEC State Liaison Committee (SLC)
Marketing laws do not directly address digital platform requirements for financial institutions, however many existing laws and regulations specific to the financial sector treat digital platforms as a marketing channel. This means all requirements that would apply to your organization’s printed advertisements also apply to your digital platform accounts.
Here are a few of the key regulations to consider when marketing through digital platforms.
- The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against certain applicants. This includes images and statements posted to your digital platform pages. Be sure that your site has nothing posted that will either encourage or discourage credit worthy applicants. Also, be sure that training programs are in place to ensure employees know how to properly respond to certain inquiries regarding loans.
- Truth in Lending pertains mostly to advertising and early disclosures. Caution and training are necessary when you advertise loan rates or credit terms. Keep in mind that employees’ interactions with consumers about credit products can also trigger specific disclosures. This communication must also be retained for two years.
- Truth in Savings (Reg DD) applies to any advertisement that promotes deposit accounts. The rule is intended to ensure that ads are not misleading, inaccurate or misrepresent the financial institution’s deposit contract. Reg DD also sets rules for responding to certain inquires, specifically inquiries about interest rates. Advertisements through digital platforms that include rates trigger the same disclosures as those applicable in print.
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires security of consumer information. Financial institutions must ensure that confidential data is not exposed when attempting to provide customer service or assist with products.
- The Fair Housing Act protects consumers against discrimination of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Be sure to include the Equal Housing Lender logo on your digital platforms.
- The Community Reinvestment Act requires financial institutions, among other things, to maintain a public file for the current year and each of the prior two calendar years that specifically relate to the institution’s performance in helping to meet community credit needs.
- FDIC and NCUA information – Be sure to display the appropriate logo with member information on your digital platforms.
In addition to the items listed above, it is equally important to consider the following when managing your digital platforms:
Customer Care - Consumers are turning to digital platforms more and more to communicate with their financial institution. The practice of social listening is the monitoring of your brand’s digital platform channels for consumer feedback, direct mentions of your brand, or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries. It all needs to be followed by analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities. To provide the best customer care, you must have constant monitoring of your digital platforms to allow for prompt responses to postings.
Employment Recruiting – If you post job openings on digital platforms you must be sure to include the Equal Employment Opportunity information.
Sharing Biographical Information- We all like to see employee spotlights, welcome new hires, and announce retirements. But sharing information on employees or clients can be tricky. You want to be careful when sharing biographical information like family information, where the employee went to school, and other personally identifiable information. It has been found that crooks often times use this information to create social engineering attacks.
Digital Platform Policy – Create a policy to define a code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees who post content online as either part of their job description or personally. This policy needs to set expectations for appropriate behavior online and to protect employees and the financial institution from legal issues or a social media crisis.
Crisis Plan - Things go wrong. You need a solid crisis plan to prepare you to handle a digital platform crisis of any size.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when managing your digital platforms. Be sure to work with your Compliance and Legal team for guidance and stay well out there!
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