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News Now

CU System
Calif. DFI Warns CUs About Ads' FOM Language
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (5/14/13)--The California Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) issued a warning about credit unions using certain language about their fields of membership in their advertising.

In the April monthly bulletin, the California DFI issued a statement regarding "Impermissible Advertising by Credit Unions."

"The Department has recently become aware of certain impermissible advertising campaigns by credit unions. The advertisements state that 'everyone can join' or 'all individuals can join' the credit union," DFI said in the bulletin.

"Advertisements that display this message violate the Commissioner's regulation concerning common-bond requirements for field of membership," the bulletin continued.

"Title 10 California Code of Regulations 30.51 provides that members must share a common bond 'beyond obtaining financial services.' Stating that 'everyone can join' or that 'all can join' the credit union incorrectly suggests that the common-bond requirement of 30.51 does not apply.

"Please note this regulation when advertising to increase membership and do not use or display any advertisement that is in violation of Title 10 California Code of Regulations 30.51."

The type of credit union campaigns involved were in-branch signage and Internet/Web pages, Alana Golden, California DFI public information officer, told News Now.

"Three credit unions were sent a letter directly, and the bulletin announcement was sent to all licensees," Golden added.

The California regulator became aware of the issue when a DFI employee saw a window advertisement, which then led to Internet searches, she explained.


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