If you have ever done a significant amount of marketing, you’ve probably ran into or heard of others running into problems with compliance (hoops to jump through to keep your marketing compliant). The mortgage industry and your marketing are heavily regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These agencies are put in place to make sure that consumers are not being taken advantage of by lenders or their marketing and with all the guideline changes in the mortgage industry they are cracking down.
Credit bureaus are paying hefty fines for allowing “pre-screened credit data” to fall into the wrong hands, regulations are tightening up, and as a mortgage professional, it’s up to you to keep abreast of all these changes, especially when it comes to your marketing. We all want to earn a good living and grow our business. Don’t do it at the expense of your future or that of your company’s.
How can you stay current with all of these regulations?
1. You can read the guidelines on the agency Web sites.
2. Make sure you work with a reputable marketing firm. This is key. There are lots of “marketing people” out there who do not understand the guidelines. If they don’t know the rules, how can you expect them to be followed?
3. If you have a compliance department, use them. They have intimate knowledge of industry regulations and will make sure you don’t get into any hot water.
4. This is the most important of all … Talk with your marketing company about it. If you use an outside marketing firm, you must absolutely take the time to talk with them and find out how much they know about the guidelines for the specific type of marketing that you do or are planning on doing this year. Sure, it’s not their responsibility to make sure you follow the rules. But if you get into trouble they will lose you as a client so any good company will always put your best interest first.
We are fresh into 2013 and it is shaping up to be bigger and better than 2012! With this will come more oversight by the CFPB and the FTC. Consider the type of marketing that you’ve planned for the year. Does it involve telephone numbers? Are those numbers scrubbed against the federal Do-Not-Call (DNC) List? Will you be using “pre-screened credit data?” Do you know the guidelines for using such data?
If you are unsure of any of these, get with your company compliance officer and/or your marketing firm to get the details of how these guidelines may affect your marketing. Using “pre-screened credit data” has a whole host of regulations that go along with it. If this is your first time using it, make sure you get set up properly with the bureau of your choice. This data is not available to just anyone and there is a three- to six-week set up process. There are also “mortgage” files that are available that can alleviate the burdens of compliance and still allow you to select consumers that meet the criteria you are looking for.
Key factors to consider
Understand the regulations that affect your marketing and do your best to follow them. They will sometimes lower your response rates so it’s important to consider this before you start marketing for the year. If you have already started your campaigns, have that conversation with your compliance officer and/or you marketing firm and make any necessary changes ASAP. Talk with your marketing firm to get useful insight into how you can keep your marketing profitable while following set guidelines and find out what’s working for others in your area.
Lastly, just because these agencies are cracking down, it doesn’t mean that you cannot market! There are plenty of campaigns working great for all types of loans that are completely compliant … whether you are writing FHA, VA, conforming or reverse loans. There are even great campaigns for commercial mortgages! The mortgage industry is moving in the right direction again, and it’s important that you remain ahead of your competition. Plan your growth, find credible companies to work with, and make 2013 a year to remember!
Medford, Ore.-based TagQuest is a full-service marketing firm created specifically for the ever-changing business world. TagQuest assists companies with their direct marketing, advertising and branding needs, and knows what it takes to generate quality customers and, most importantly, how to retain those customers for years to come. TagQuest brings forth a unique opportunity to utilize our experience and expertise in varying consumer sales and marketing environments. For more information, call (866) 376-5540 or visit Tagquest.com.