Carefully curating a corporate mortgage/financial services social media presence is practically a full-time job, given the intense regulatory focus on advertising and the nature of today’s digitally-driven marketplace. But what happens when an unauthorized page or profile enters the mix?
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Unclaimed or unauthorized business social media profiles/pages get created all the time for various reasons depending on the channel in question. For instance, LinkedIn will automatically create a company listing page if a user lists that company as their current employer on the profile AND a page does not already exist for that company.
Similarly, Facebook will automatically create a company page if a user attempts to check in or tag a business and that check-in/tag does not link to an existing page. This most commonly occurs with businesses that have multiple locations or if the user misspells the company’s name. However, this is also likely to happen if a company operates under multiple names or a nickname.
Some platforms, such as Yelp, encourage consumers to create a company’s page if one does not already exist but also allow companies to create their own or claim their page if created by another user.
Whatever the cause, these pages can pose significant risks for mortgage lenders and financial institutions if left unchecked. For example, unclaimed/unauthorized pages that include a lender’s name but lack licensing info could certainly draw regulators’ attention as a possible violation of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act).
In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has made it clear that lenders and financial institutions should monitor all communication channels – including social media – for negative customer reviews and/or feedback as part of their overall compliance management system (CMS). Even if these reviews appear on unauthorized pages, the CFPB may still hold lenders and financial institutions responsible for monitoring those pages.
Adding insult to injury, lenders and financial institutions may also have to grapple with the reputational risks unclaimed/unauthorized can pose, including dissemination of misinformation or negative reviews when questions/comments go unanswered. There can also be a nefarious element in which hackers or other bad actors create fake accounts to intentionally damage a company’s reputation.
Unfortunately, there is no magic fix to prevent these unclaimed/unauthorized pages and profiles from being created, but that does not mean there is no recourse for dealing with this issue. In short, there are three main avenues mortgage lenders and financial institutions can pursue:
In all three cases, knowing is the first step, which is where ActiveComply can help. Our platform automatically finds unclaimed/unauthorized social media pages and profiles to help pinpoint these areas of risk.
Crafting and maintaining a corporate social media presence that drives business AND meets regulators’ standards is a monumental achievement. Lenders and financial institutions must protect these efforts by being vigilant of the presence and risks of unauthorized/unclaimed and taking the necessary steps to safeguard their organization’s online reputations.
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