Q: My company's loan originators ("LOs") use social media to market themselves. What are some key controls I should put in place to monitor their activity?
A: Social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, websites, etc.) have become a popular way for LOs to market themselves and their services. These types of commercial communications will be considered advertising by regulators and violations of advertising requirements can be costly. It is, therefore, important that residential mortgage companies employing LOs monitor their activities throughout the internet to ensure compliance with federal and state advertising requirements.
Some best practices for implementing a social media oversight program include, but are not limited to:
• Identifying, at the time of hire, where an LO may have a social media presence and performing a targeted audit for compliance purposes.
• Training LOs on the "do's and don'ts" of social media and advertising.
• Maintaining social media business pages on behalf of LOs and restricting them from using personal social media pages for business purposes (this allows an LO to maintain a commercial internet presence while also helping to ensure company control and oversight).
• Requiring all content to be approved by the mortgage company's compliance department prior to posting.
• Actively and frequently monitoring social media activity, which may include ongoing audits, automated trigger notifications, or implementing software that identifies possible violations for the compliance department to review.
• Documenting findings and corrective action, such as assigning additional training to LOs that are in violation of the company policy.
• Performing a social media search at the time of de-boarding a departing LO to ensure the LO updates all social media pages removing any affiliation with the company. If an LO does not update his/her social media presence in a timely manner, a mortgage company should document its attempts to have the LO make the requested changes.