Monitoring Can Be Overwhelming

By Michael Dunn, CMB

Financial institutions are responsible for monitoring and controlling the risks related to social media, including compliance and brand reputation risks. For most lenders, it is the responsibility of either the Compliance Department or Marketing Department to monitor Loan Officers’ social media marketing posts for instances of these risks. Due to the overwhelming volume of people, platforms and content, this type of monitoring can be overwhelming for staff to do manually and can be even more difficult to monitor and track any corrections made. Many lenders choose to delegate to a specialized, third-party company.

Loan Officers turn to social media to post their marketing content, but how can Compliance personnel ensure that the content is being monitored on all fronts and that LOs are abiding by lender-specific marketing rules? With dozens of social media platforms available, LOs often post on multiple sites to reach large audiences.  Some of these sites include:

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Alignable
  • Yelp
  • Vimeo

There is risk associated with having hundreds of loan officers’ social media content going unchecked. The Mortgage Acts and Practices (MAP) – Advertising Final Rule was enacted in July 2011. This legislation prohibits “any misrepresentation in any commercial communication regarding any term of any mortgage credit product; and imposes certain recordkeeping requirements.” Violation of these rules could result in actions and civil penalties against the lender.

Monitoring one Loan Officer with multiple social media channels would be difficult, but monitoring hundreds of Loan Officers on multiple channels would be unreasonably time-consuming and nearly impossible to keep up with. The Compliance Department needs to conserve their resources to focus on higher-priority projects. Many feel it is essential for this type of monitoring to be outsourced to ensure efficiency and to avoid employee burnout.

A few specific items that should be monitored and tracked:

  • Branding Issues - Is the marketing content approved by the lender? Are the messages appropriate and in keeping with the company’s values?
  • Legal Considerations - How are the advertising records retained? What safeguards are in place to guard against loss of these records? Are there trigger terms?
  • Fair Lending Concerns - Fair Lending issues could arise due to lack of monitoring. It is necessary to keep track of all posts to avoid regulatory problems.
  • Misinformation - Is the marketing content accurate and up to date with the most recent lending regulations? Misleading content could result in legal issues and loss of business.

It is the responsibility of the lender to ensure that all marketing content posted by Loan Officers is accurate, on-brand and properly recorded. Due to the large amount of Loan Officers employed, a third-party company is most effective to conduct this work on behalf of the Compliance Department. This will save time and allow for existing resources to be directed toward other areas.