Mortgage companies and loan officers augment their marketing efforts with purchases of “leads.” The expansion of the Internet and a reduction in the expense of communication has led to an expansion of lead sources-companies that focus only on generating leads for the mortgage industry. These companies tout specific leads for targeted groups or loan programs, such as a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) or the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).
From a regulatory perspective, this activity may expose your company to risk. The following may help you to reduce your exposure:
1. Does the state for which you are purchasing leads require lead vendors to be licensed as a mortgage company? Some states view lead production as a licensable activity.
2. If you are purchasing live transfers, or if there is any outbound phone calling, then you should determine:
a. Does the vendor have a SAN number for the National Do-Not-Call Registry (https://telemarketing.donotcall.gov)?
b. Determine that the company has purchased the DNC States/Area codes being called on your behalf.
c. Determine that the company is obtaining the phone lists from reliable sources and that the list has been scrubbed by the DNC.
d. Is the company licensed as a mortgage broker?
e. Review the script to ensure that only compliant questions are asked (no discussion of rates, terms, social security number etc.). Very general information provided and then transferred to a licensed mortgage loan officer.
f. Are other products being sold with the call?
g. Establish the ability to listen to phone calls and then randomly monitor calls.
3. If you are using “trigger-list” data, understand the requirements and provide marketing materials commensurate with the data.
4. If you buy Internet leads, review the written policies and procedures and determine if the Web site is compliant within the state you are purchasing leads.
Whatever type of lead program you purchase, you can also reduce your risk by establishing a quality control (QC) monitoring program. This should be done through compliance personnel. The QC program should be in writing and determine how each program is reviewed. This would include reviewing all aspects of the lead vendor, licensing, policies/procedures, and select a random number of leads for a detailed review.
Lead purchases are a vital part of the mortgage marketing landscape, and with due diligence, you can take full advantage of this resource.
You can download the checklist for mortgage lead compliance at www.clixmg.com along with other compliant related information.
Michael J. Wallace Esq. is president of CLIX MG. Marketing Compliance Manager (MCM) is a Web-based compliance management system for marketing and lead programs, including social media. For a 15-minute live demonstration, please visit www.clixmg.com. He may be reached by phone at (727) 474-0961 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.