38 Scotsman Guide Residential Edition |
ScotsmanGuide.com | September 2017
space to include an NMLS number, an opt-out notice or the lender’s mailing
address, so advertising on Twitter is difficult to do efficiently without violating
Protections outlined in Regulation B of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act
(ECOA) and in the Fair Housing Act dictate that lenders cannot request certain information about an applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin or
gender. Many social media platforms make this information publicly available, however, so it is important that this information have absolutely no
influence on any lending decision.
Furthermore, when creating social media posts — as with any other form
of communication — you must avoid words, symbols, models or other
forms of communication that could potentially express, imply or suggest a
discriminatory preference, because these would be violations of the ECOA.
In addition, requirements in Regulation Z of the Truth in Lending Act
(TILA) prohibit lenders, mortgage companies and originators from discussing downpayments, payment periods or amounts and interest rates publicly
on social media without proper disclosures. Mentioning any of these trigger
terms without the corresponding specific disclosure is a direct violation of
TILA, so compliance training and monitoring of social media posts is a must.
Even something as seemingly innocent as offering a $10 gift card in exchange for a referral is a no-no per Section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement
Procedures Act. This act prohibits any exchange of an object of value for
Liability versus culpability
Violations aren’t always the result of a lender’s or mortgage company’s
actions, however. If a consumer publicly shares personal information such
as credit scores, addresses, debts, etc., through a mortgage company’s social
media account, the company is not culpable, but it is expected to take action
to protect the consumer.
In this case, the best action to take is to delete the private information
as quickly as possible and advise that consumer by following up privately.
The mortgage company also should be able to provide proof that there was
no direct solicitation of that information and that it was provided voluntarily,
without the company’s approval.
In general, it is important to limit one-on-one engagement with any
consumer or borrower to private channels and reserve public forums for
messages that reflect positive experiences and/or show responsiveness to
complaints. This is no small consideration and requires ongoing oversight to
ensure social media risks are mitigated.
n n n
Reaching a broad audience has never been as easy as it is today, and marketers understand the seemingly unlimited potential that social media
has in terms of borrower engagement. Is it challenging? Of course. But it is
Many of the requirements surrounding social media use are similar to —
if not the same as — traditional marketing and advertising requirements.
Make sure social media marketing is part of your overall strategy, and review
posts prior to placement.
Marketing and compliance teams must work together on outreach, regardless of profile or platform. Have a clearly defined policy in place and
available to all employees and watch your digital presence take your brand
to new heights. n
“It is important to limit one-on-one
engagement with any consumer or
borrower to private channels.”
Whitney Blessington is vice president of marketing for Churchill Mortgage, a privately-owned company.
A full-service and financially sound leader in the mortgage industry, the company provides conventional,
FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 44 states. Churchill Mortgage is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Churchill Holdings Inc. For more information, visit churchillmortgage.com or follow the company on
Twitter, @ChurchillMtg, and on Facebook at facebook.com/churchillmortgage. Reach Blessington at
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