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Regulators look at what responsibilities social media use brings for FIs
WASHINGTON (1/23/13)--The National Credit Union Administration and bank regulators have asked for comment as they prepare guidelines for social media use by financial institutions.

The regulators on Tuesday released proposed guidance addressing how consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies could be applied to the use of online social media platforms by credit unions, financial institutions and certain nonbank entities. Credit unions and other parties can now comment on the pending social media guidance.

The coming joint agency guidance "is intended to help financial institutions understand potential consumer compliance, legal, reputation, and operational risks associated with the use of social media, along with expectations for managing those risks," said the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).

Poor due diligence, oversight, or control of social media platforms can create increased risks for financial institutions and their members or customers, the FFIEC noted.

The guidance will not create new obligations for financial institutions, the FFIEC said, but financial institutions will be expected to manage risk "as they would with any new process or product channel."

Credit unions and others may comment on any aspect of the guidance, but the FFIEC is specifically seeking information on:

  • Any types of social media use that should be added to the guidance;
  • Any other consumer protection laws, regulations, policies or concerns that may be implicated by financial institutions' use of social media that are not discussed in the proposed guidance but should be discussed; and
  • Any factors that may impede compliance with laws, regulations, and policies that address social media use.
Comments will be accepted for 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. 

The FFIEC is comprised of the leaders of the NCUA, the Federal Reserve Board, the office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz has served as head of the FFIEC since 2011. Her two-year term is scheduled to end in March.
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