We all know how complex and confusing Reg Z can be. But, I personally believe that regulatory compliance related to marketing and advertising is arguably even worse. There are so many nuances to the advertising requirements depending upon which law or regulation you are dealing with, the type of product you are touting, or the channel used to deliver the message. And let’s not even get into social media and other technology such as geo-fencing (look that up on Google!) that our current regulatory requirements didn’t even contemplate. So, how does an over worked and underpaid compliance officer stay on top of all this?
Just as the old proverb goes, let’s eat this elephant one bite at a time. First, make a list of all the laws, regulations, and regulatory guidance that cover marketing. Don’t forget the lesser-known ones like CAN-SPAM, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Weblinking, etc. After that’s done, start compiling the requirements. It’s easiest to start by product – deposit products, open-end loans, credit cards, mortgage loans, etc. Then, create subcategories within each product for the various delivery channels. So, if you have to review an ad for a HELOC that will be posted on your webpage, you go to your resource and find HELOCs, then look for the requirements for webpage ads. Gathering the information and requirements will be an ongoing process. This isn’t a project that you tackle for a couple of weeks and then say it’s done. The best approach is to add information to this resource as you conduct your reviews. You can even include sample disclosures that you have already reviewed. In your spare time (um, what’s that, right?) you can fill in the missing information a little at a time. Eventually, you will build a great resource that will help you be more efficient by not having to start your research over with each new ad.
See? This elephant can be eaten one bite at a time and when it’s done, you can move on to a more palatable diet. Happy Marketing!