Last week, I was joined by mortgage professionals for yet another compliance roundtable to discuss the most pressing issues facing the industry today.
The event shed light on various hot topics, ranging from loan officers’ additional income ventures to the challenges of social media compliance.
Participants engaged in candid discussions, sharing their experiences and insights on navigating the complex world of mortgage compliance, especially during these challenging economic times.
Here are the top 5 takeaways from the discussion.
- Compliance review and monitoring continues to be a challenge
- Loan officers seeking additional income leads to increased risk
- “Team names” are also causing compliance concerns
- Strict social media guidance helps mitigate risk across emerging platforms
- Does Oregon’s new remote work policy signal future implications?
- Join the next mortgage industry roundtable
Compliance review and monitoring continues to be a challenge
We kicked off the roundtable with a poll asking participants what their most significant compliance challenge is, and the number one response was: compliance monitoring.
A couple of professionals shared what their current compliance monitoring process looks like.
One said that they instruct their loan officers to send over their content with an approval form, and then the content goes through a strict (and manual) review process. “I would say it’s most of my day that I’m looking at advertising pieces,” they said.
Even with this process in place, loan officers still go “rogue” and do their own advertising without compliance review or approval, which is later discovered during ad and social media audits.
Another said that they have a recurring 15-minute appointment on their calendar, three times a week, dedicated to social media monitoring. They’ll log into each social media platform and manually review content posted from their organization’s page, and run some general searches to see what comes up.
This discussion also touched on PerformLine’s solutions for compliance monitoring across social media, the web, and other marketing channels.
PerformLine’s omni-channel compliance monitoring technology automates…
- Marketing compliance review and approval process of loan officers’ content
- Ongoing monitoring of loan officers’ social accounts across multiple platforms, including TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube
- Discovery of unknown or unapproved loan officer vanity URLs
…to make loan officer oversight streamlined, efficient, and painless.
If the struggles of manual compliance monitoring resonate with you, we’re happy to help!
Loan officers seeking additional income leads to increased risk
It seems like every time we hold a roundtable, there’s a new trend or topic that comes up that we haven’t discussed previously.
The new topic for this event was loan officers who are now working with insurance companies, title companies, or other affiliated businesses and the risk that this presents to the mortgage company.
Many shared their struggles around this topic, signaling a growing trend as loan officers are seeking additional income during a time of slow origination.
The discussion revolved around concerns about how to adequately express these relationships on an Affiliated Business Arrangement (AfBA) to avoid potential RESPA violations. Many are struggling to wrap their heads around it all, including the referral process, information sharing, and how to get loan officers to understand the risks associated with these joint ventures.
One valuable piece of advice from one professional was to make sure that senior executive management is fully aware of these partnerships. They said that if executive management is well-informed and has approved the arrangements, then there’s not much that can be done about the situation.
Developing a robust conflict of interest policy would be a key measure to mitigate potential compliance risks here. And, when it comes to marketing and advertising, it was unanimously agreed that loan officers involved in these additional partnerships cannot participate in any joint advertising.
“Team names” are also causing compliance concerns
Another issue that participants talked a lot about was the use of team names and the potential risk that they pose for the organization.
In the mortgage industry, “team names” have become a common practice where loan officers adopt a team or group name to conduct their business operations. This strategy serves as a branding and marketing tactic to attract potential clients and create a cohesive identity for the team.
A question that was asked was, “Has anybody had trouble with regulators regarding brand issues?” The overall consensus is yes—a lot of regulars, particularly State regulators, are cracking down on this issue.
Participants chimed in and called out a lot of States that are honing in on team names—most notably Washington—signaling that this is another growing trend and compliance concern.
Strict social media guidance helps mitigate risk across emerging platforms
One thing that is always consistent in these roundtables is the topic of social media compliance and monitoring. A lot of previous roundtables were focused on TikTok, but this time, the discussion kicked off with a question about Threads—the newest competitor to X (formerly Twitter).
When it was asked what others are doing with this new platform—is everyone monitoring it, and has anyone provided any guidance for loan officers?
Responses were mixed. Some attendees haven’t done much around the new platform since it’s so new, and compliance obligations feel like a grey area.
One professional talked about how they handle social media guidance in general at her company. Essentially, loan officers are limited to only four social media platforms and are not allowed to venture outside of those without compliance review and approval (which answers the initial question about Threads).
This sparked an in-depth conversation about how social media compliance is handled at each company. The general consensus is that you have to be extremely specific about what’s allowed on social media and leave no room for ambiguity. The more information you can provide, the better.
This “in the box” approach, while stringent, significantly mitigates risks across social media, particularly around emerging platforms (like Threads).
Does Oregon’s new remote work policy signal future implications?
The last notable topic that we discussed was updated remote work policies from Oregon, which address the safeguards needed for remote work and requires an annual inspection of the worksite.
There are a lot of questions and uncertainty around this policy—how do you manage this if you have hundreds of remote workers across the country? Can these inspections be done virtually, or does it have to be done in person? And what about those who are working somewhere besides their “official” remote location?
The jury is still out on what the state will accept and how inspections are to be conducted. Participants agreed that formal guidance would be helpful.
One professional shared their experience with something similar, although it was pre-COVID. Their organization sent out a checklist to remote employees with the requirements needed for their remote workspace—things like a paper shredder, locked cabinets, etc—and would have the employees send photos of their space with the necessary requirements. They said the regulators accepted that, although Oregon was not part of it.
Although future implications of remote work requirements are still uncertain, it can’t hurt to start putting some proactive measures in place to ensure that remote workspaces are safe and secure.
Join the next mortgage industry roundtable
Want to be part of the next roundtable discussion? Request your invite to be a part of the COMPLY Mortgage Compliance Community—a community dedicated to navigating the ever-evolving world of mortgage regulatory compliance.
As a member, you’ll have access to:
- A private and monitored Slack group where you can connect and collaborate with your peers year-round
- Invitations to our quarterly virtual roundtable events
- Priority access to mortgage compliance content and additional events (both in-person and virtual)
Request your invite here!