For consumer finance companies, having the right technology and controls in place is just one step towards complete marketing compliance.
The next step, and often the most challenging one, is understanding what to look for in marketing materials and documenting that effectively. We like to call these compliance “‘rules,” which are essentially a list of terms and phrases that your organization can use to monitor marketing materials against to ensure your content abides by regulatory obligations.
In this article, we break down key areas you should be aware of to add to your compliance monitoring “rules” to help you mitigate risk, protect consumers, and maintain a positive brand reputation.
One key aspect of marketing compliance for consumer finance companies is complying with (what we call “objective”) regulations. These are clear-cut, black-and-white, either-they’re-there-or-they’re-not requirements.
These regulations are typically very objective and leave little room for interpretation—think TILA (Truth in Lending Act), CARD Act (Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act), and MAP Rule (Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule), for example.
All of these regulations have very clear and specific requirements about what information must be present in marketing materials, such as annual percentage rates (APRs), fees and charges, terms and conditions, and so on.
If any of the required information is missing, then it’s a compliance issue.
Another key area of marketing compliance is complying with regulations that aren’t so straightforward (what we call “subjective”)—regulations like UDAAP (Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices) or fair lending laws. These regulations are broad and ambiguous by nature so that they can cover a wide range of potential consumer protection violations.
The interpretation of what’s considered UDAAP or a fair lending issue in marketing materials can vary among individuals, organizations, and even regulatory bodies, leading to differing opinions and challenges in enforcement.
Monitoring for UDAAP and fair lending compliance requires a solid understanding of the guidelines and expectations set by regulators—how do they define unfair, deceptive, abusive, discriminatory, and fair?
There are a few resources you can leverage to understand regulators’ expectations and focus, including enforcement actions, supervisory highlights, reports, circulars, bulletins, and industry publications.
Although these regulations are much more challenging to monitor, ensuring compliance and consumer protection is non-negotiable—especially given the regulators’ increased focus on both of these areas.
Brand Reputation and Guidelines
Last but not least, another key area to monitor is your brand’s presence across marketing channels.
Marketing compliance extends beyond regulatory and legal aspects. While complying with expectations of regulators is critical, what about the expectations and guidelines of your brand?
A well-rounded compliance program also encompasses brand monitoring to ensure accurate representation of your brand and offerings.
Brand monitoring requires oversight of all aspects of your brand, including (but not limited to) logo, messaging, identity, product descriptions, and more to maintain consistency and to protect your brand’s integrity and reputation.
How to Monitor Marketing Compliance at Scale
To effectively monitor for marketing compliance at scale, organizations need both an omni-channel marketing compliance technology and robust rules in place that cover all regulatory requirements and brand guidelines.
A compliance monitoring technology is no use if you don’t know what to monitor for. Similarly, having robust compliance rules are no use if you don’t have a way to discover and monitor them at scale across marketing channels.
With PerformLine, you get the best of both worlds. Not only do you get a single, automated platform for comprehensive monitoring across marketing channels, but you also get access to our extensive library of expertly-crafted, proprietary rulebooks.