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Calm Before the Storm

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COMPLIANCE UPDATE: BY BRIAN GODWIN

Use regulatory “down time” to check in on long-term compliance strategies

The regulatory seas are somewhat calm at the moment – a rarity in this new climate of intense rule proposals. Credit union compliance managers may want to take advantage by giving some long-overdue attention to areas that may have taken a back seat to mortgage lending in recent years. Rest assured, with TILARESPA rules in effect August 1 and an anticipated HUMDA rule soon to appear, the mortgage department won’t be left alone for long.
Four areas you may want to turn attention to in the meantime are marketing, deposit accounts, Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and consumer loans.

Marketing
To attract new members and keep existing members engaged, your staff likely launches a series of marketing campaigns each year. This summer, sit down with your marketers to understand the procedures in place to trigger inclusion of appropriate disclosures within each of your advertisements, promotions and other marketing activities.

Another suggestion is to review materials that have a tendency to stay in place for longer periods of time. Signage at your branches, for instance, becomes part of the everyday environment for staff. You may want to “walk the lobby” to see your credit union through the eyes of a member or prospect. Perform a quick spot check to make sure each of the following notices/logos are properly addressed with signage:
• HMDA
• Fair Housing
• Funds availability
• Patriot Act
• NCUA logos

Of course, many of your members and prospects interact with you online. Perform a similar through-the-eyes-of-the-member audit of your website. Be sure to view it from as many different devices as possible. Are the proper disclosures provided based upon the content of the site? Are they visible on a tablet or smartphone? Are there any items that are potentially misleading, or confusing to members and consumers?

Deposit Accounts
Increasingly, free checking is becoming a differentiator for all financial institutions. For that reason, it can be tempting to refer to a deposit account as “free,” “no cost” or something similar. Keep in mind, however, Truth in Savings requirements do not allow credit unions to use these terms if there are any maintenance or activity fees whatsoever on the account. If you’ve made any changes to your deposit accounts, double check to be sure corresponding advertisements or promotions have changed, as well.

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