Credit Union Regulatory Alert  

Published by Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC



Thank you for taking the time to read this Howard & Howard Credit Union Regulatory Alert. We aim to provide our credit union clients and friends with information to help you understand and interpret the ever-changing regulatory environment.


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Consumer Compliance Risks in Social Media

On December 11, 2013, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) finalized guidance on social media risk management. While the guidance does not create new regulatory requirements, it does clarify that the existing regulations apply to social media. To ensure they comply, credit unions should review their social media risk assessment, policies and procedures, employee training and social media content.


Risk Management Program

The final guidance emphasizes the need for a strong risk management program - which can be part of the credit union's overall program. A successful risk management program allows the credit union to measure, monitor and control risks related to social media. Important components of a risk management program include written policies and procedures, employee training, and an audit function to ensure compliance with internal policies and consumer protection laws and regulations.


Specific Risks - Advertising Disclosures

While an overall risk assessment is a necessity, so is establishing specific compliance and legal reviews of the credit union's social media activity. For example, posting a Facebook update about the credit union's mortgage rates or the credit union's "refer a member" campaign could trigger advertising disclosure requirements. 


While the Guidance does not provide any exceptions for social media advertisements, credit unions can utilize existing flexibility for certain advertisements by providing disclosures via an electronic link. To help manage the compliance and legal risks, credit unions should establish procedures to review social media (and website) advertisements to ensure they include all the required disclosures.


Specific Risks - Member Complaints

While social media provides a unique way for credit unions to engage with their members (and potential members), it also presents members with a unique way to engage with the credit union. Members are not shy about voicing their frustrations through social media and credit unions should have procedures in place to handle member complaints. For example, a member's complaint on social media not only presents reputation risks but could also trigger the credit union's error resolution requirements for a debit card or a mortgage loan. Detailed member complaint procedures and employee training can help the credit union manage compliance and reputation risks simultaneously.  



As use of social media continues to grow, credit unions must have appropriate risk management programs in place to ensure continued compliance with consumer protection laws and regulations.

Credit Union Legal Support

Howard & Howard offers a Quarterly Legal Support Program designed exclusively for credit unions. The program includes direct legal assistance as well as detailed Regulatory Updates of new and amended requirements.

For a complimentary Regulatory Update of the final FFIEC guidance, please click here. 
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In This Issue
Consumer Compliance Risks in Social Media
Credit Union Legal Support
About Howard & Howard


Attorney Spotlight

 concentrates his practice in the area of financial regulations. His intimate knowledge of the operational issues facing credit unions provides the perfect platform to recommend best practices to reduce compliance, strategic and reputation risks.
Attorney Spotlight

  is a Member of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC and concentrates his practice in credit union mergers and acquisitions, loan documentation review and strategic planning.

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This Advisory is intended for informational purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice.  Please call a qualified attorney for counsel related to your particular situation.