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Opinion

Mortgage compliance must also spread to social media

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Today’s loan officers know they need to be on social media to connect with potential and current members.

The only problem?

They work for credit unions that operate in a highly regulated industry — an industry where every piece of member communication, including electronic, is heavily scrutinized by regulatory bodies.

If one noncompliant post slips through the cracks, it could land a credit union in serious hot water. Compliance concerns are valid, and it’s understandable that many financial institutions are tempted to discourage social media activity altogether. But avoidance isn’t the answer, and doing so could hurt more than it would help.

After all, social selling — when loan officers themselves share branded content with their networks on social media — is one of the most powerful and effective ways for these officers to market themselves. In fact, branded messages shared by individuals rather than companies have 561% greater reach and bring in eight times the engagement.

Lenders must integrate a culture of compliance to get the most return from a social selling strategy while lowering the risk of violating important regulations.

First, outline control. As a mortgage lender, governance and control are paramount to remaining compliant on social media. Your social strategy can’t be compliant if it isn’t properly governed, so your first step should involve defining who can access and control your social media channels.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council mandates that you have a clear social media policy that outlines individual roles and responsibilities. The policy must also clearly state that the institution monitors all social media activity and should provide guidelines for what employees can post and when they can post it.

To effectively integrate this policy into your institution’s culture, you must make sure it’s accessible to all employees. Write the policy in easily digestible language and put it in a document that every employee can access. Have both digital and physical copies that every employee who takes part in the social strategy can have on hand at all times.

Then keep compliance top of mind. To ensure everyone is on the same page about the items and approval workflows that are outlined in your policy, you’ll need to organize an initial training session — but don’t stop there. Offer regular refreshers, especially as platforms and policies change.

Compliance can’t be summed up in a single training session; it should be embedded into the workflow of your credit union. To keep compliance at the forefront and help guide future online behavior, craft positive case studies to illustrate how compliant social engagement works.

If possible, use success stories from within your own walls to build your case studies. According to Gallup, only one-third of employees are recognized for a job well done on a weekly basis — even though recognition can go a long way in increasing individual employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty. You’ll make double the impact by praising employees and educating them at the same time.

Finally, make it easy. You won’t integrate compliance into your culture by making things difficult or hard to understand. That’s where intuitive technology comes in. After all, the tools you use to maintain compliance are just as important as the policies that guide it.

For example, you can use a companywide portal to distribute updates across the organization in real time. As a result, your loan officers will be able to collaborate more seamlessly as they plan and implement social selling initiatives. Consider also supplying a steady stream of compliant content that they can share on their individual social media profiles.

Finally, use a tool that automatically archives all social media engagement to check another compliance box and help streamline potential audits from the FFIEC or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Doing so will ensure minimal disruption in the event of an audit.

Compliance is an important element in the success of any social media marketing strategy, and you can help safeguard your credit union by making it a guiding principle. Commit to building a culture of compliance by providing the right training, encouragement, and social selling tools.

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