Social Media Regulation – Part II: Creating Your Social Media Policy

This is Part II of a two part post on American Banker’s “Banking Regulatory Update: New Social Media Rules” webinar. You can view Part I here.

Last week, the Banking.com team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Banking Regulatory Update: New Social Media Rules,” which detailed the current policies around social media use by financial institutions. Moderated by American Banker’s own Penny Crosman, the panel of presenters included:

Much of the content of the webinar dissected the implications of the FFIEC’s proposed guidance and how financial institutions can comply. As regulators are looking for feedback on the guidelines by March 23, we spoke to Carl Pry, Senior Director, Treliant Risk Advisors, to hear how FIs are currently reacting to the guidance.

 

Q: What have you seen as the number one risk management issue for financial institutions on social? Can you elaborate on a way to avoid this situation?

The most critical risk management issue for banks regarding social media is the lack of awareness and oversight. Many institutions are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to social media, to their detriment. Institutions that don’t address this issue in the present are missing an opportunity to connect with a demographic we all want to reach: the young and technologically capable. But the risk comes when taking a hands-off approach results in the illusion that the institution is simply not participating in social media. Chances are that you are – your employees are – using social media every day. Without a clear social media policy and procedures, without guidelines on what can and cannot be said, you may be violating certain laws and regulations without even knowing it.

Avoiding this situation means getting ahead of the curve by formulating and implementing clear company-wide policies and procedures addressing social media. They should be comprehensive and deal with both company and employee usage of social media. Also, set clear guidelines for consumers and your customers who utilized your bank’s social media sites, as well.

Q: Do you think banks and credit unions should use Twitter and Facebook as customer service channels at all? Why?

Absolutely, although within limits. These are channels your customers are already using in their everyday lives, so why ignore them? They have the advantage of providing more immediate responses than snail mail, that’s for sure. But be aware of the limitations of social media, such as the 140-character limit of Twitter. Can you say what you want to say within 140 characters? For customer service usage, also understand what different social media sites do. You might not want to broadcast specific responses to the masses. Know the way these channels operate and coordinate your responses accordingly.

Q: Do you have any tips for HR policies or training for employees using social media?

Most importantly, make clear to employees what the parameters of usage are. Not how much time they spend on social media, but content of postings. If an employee is posting anything on behalf of the bank, make sure it is subject to the same control and review mechanisms you’d employ for any other sort of communication (such as email). But also be clear as to the expectations of employees posting things on their own accounts regarding their employment or the institution’s products and services. They should know the limits of what not to say, and that if they discuss the bank’s business, all appropriate legal and compliance requirements likely apply.

 

To hear more, check out Part I and our interview with Penny Crosman, editor in chief of Bank Technology News and technology editor of American Banker who shared her thoughts on banks adapting to new guidelines and regulation.

 

Written by Banking.com Staff