It is not surprising that lenders and servicers are utilizing social media to contact potential and exisiting clients. Bill collectors have been using this platform to track down debtors and use information against them (for example, if you owe $500 on a medical bill and they see that you just completed a Caribbean vacation, do not expect them to reduce the payment)!! If you are “friends” with your lender on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, your interactions could be changing in the near future. Don’t feel badly, though, when they stop responding to your posts etc. The federal government is changing the dynamic between you and your lender/servicer. The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued a 31-page proposal for guidelines for financial institutions when they market mortgage products via social media. The guidelines will affect how lenders can offer and provide incentives, facilitate applications for new accounts, engage with potential customers, and invite feedback. “Since this form of customer interaction tends to be informal and occurs in a less secure environment, it presents some unique challenges to financial institutions,” read the report.
The report is open for comments for 60 days before it moves on toward adoption. “Social media, as a technology, as the potential to improve market efficiency,” said the FFIEC. However, risk management programs must be adjusted to address privacy issues and the risk of misunderstandings between clients and lenders that can easily occur in an informal setting. Among other things, the FFIEC wants lenders to implement programs to insure due diligence is followed at all times during interactions with customers and that employees are trained so that they are well equipped to use social media for business purposes and so that the lender continues to follow all consumer protection legislative requirements and regulations when engaging customers and potential customers online.
Certainly seems to me that this is another federal government intervention on a perceived problem that does not really exist. Was this necessary??