Some banks start with substantive, documented reviews that have
less weight or significance than risk assessments, but enough significance to demonstrate to regulators that compliance concerns were
appropriately considered. Other banks develop internal standards
for digital redlining risk assessments and apply those standards to
the bank’s digital marketing practices. Regardless of your approach,
if you identify issues during your review, the bank must
have a process to address and correct noted concerns.
Other Digital Compliance Concerns
Banks are accustomed to creating traditional marketing
pieces that provide appropriate disclosures proximate to
relevant claims. But when using digital marketing, space
constraints sometimes make it difficult to include disclosures near the claims they support. Banks must take
care to keep disclosures proximate across any platform
(online, mobile, or tablet) and even on the smallest size
device. Regulators have historically discouraged page layouts that
require excessive scrolling to see important terms and conditions.
It is acceptable to use hyperlinks to direct consumers to lengthy
disclosures; however, where hyperlinks are necessary the link
should be made obvious through the use of contrasting font color
or bold-face type. Hyperlinks should be appropriately labeled to
convey significance. And hyperlinks should click directly through
(one-click) to the important underlying content.
When a consumer clicks on a digital ad, the ad links the consumer to a landing page on the bank’s website. When reviewing digital advertising buys, don’t forget to review the content
of the landing page to ensure it meets all technical compliance
Compliance Action Items
There are many increasingly complex ways to engage in digital
marketing. Each method introduces a new layer of risk into your
organization. The more risk you take in digital marketing, the
stronger your Compliance Management System needs to be.
When you use digital marketing as just one part of a broader,
comprehensive marketing strategy, you have the ability to be a little
more creative in your digital tactics. Nevertheless, having strong
governance over digital marketing strategies is a key component
of an effective Compliance Management System.
To maintain oversight of digital marketing programs, consider
■ ■ ■ Determine your organization’s risk tolerance for digital market-
ing and audience targeting. Consider the specific product or
service being marketed, as some products and services have
higher compliance risks. For example, your bank may be com-
fortable using audience targeting for treasury management
services but may be more cautious when audience targeting
for residential mortgages.
■ ■ ■ Maintain strong oversight over third-party vendors and their
sub-vendors to better understand algorithms and models used in
programmatic ad buying and audience
targeting. Vendors and sub-vendors hold
strong influence over your in-house marketing departments, but many of these vendors
do not understand the compliance and fair
lending risks associated with audience targeting. Consider holding a Digital Marketing
Summit where compliance, in-house marketing, and advertising vendors meet together
to educate one another on terminology, the
mechanics used in digital marketing, and
what risks need to be mitigated.
■ ■ ■ Have your bank’s marketing department give
you “analyst access” to social media platforms
so you can review the audience details of
people who are engaging with your site. To
the extent you see your audience excludes
groups of people, consider adjustments to
your audience targeting strategies.
■ ■ ■ Evaluate digital campaigns both before and after execution. Measure geographic penetration
into majority-minority and low-to-moderate income areas to
ensure appropriate coverage. Employ supplemental marketing
strategies where you find gaps in coverage.
Marketing and compliance departments often see each other as
the bad guy. Compliance thinks of marketing as the loose cannon,
while marketing thinks compliance is the grandpa who is far too
controlling. The best way to ensure that financial institutions are
in alignment with changing regulations is to have marketing and
compliance departments work side-by-side from concept inception to distribution. Marketing needs to work with the compliance team to ensure that marketing and advertisements are clear,
concise and true, while still compliant. Although marketing hasn’t
historically had to answer directly to regulators, more and more
regulators are including interviews with marketing staff within
the examination process. Compliance also needs to understand
that marketing materials and advertisements should be created
with the consumer as the primary focus, and that marketers develop the strategic focus for the bank, not compliance. Together,
marketing and compliance should maintain a view that both must
develop a working partnership, allowing for a blend of the strategic
direction and creativity of marketing to intentionally comply with
regulatory requirements. ■
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RENEE W. HUFFAKER, CPA, CRCM, is a Senior Compliance Manager
for Arvest Bank, a $20 billion regional financial institution. Renee
has approximately 24 years of bank regulatory compliance experience, with current responsibilities in fair and responsible banking,
marketing compliance, and Community Reinvestment Act activities. Renee can be reached at email@example.com.
Having strong governance
over digital marketing strategies is
a key component of an effective
Compliance Management System.