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CUNA: FFIEC Social Media Guidance Must Not Stifle Innovation
WASHINGTON (3/26/13)--Developing social media guidance should not add additional burdens that could stifle credit union innovation and cause undue hardships. Instead, it should offer a framework to make the implementation of social media programs easier for financial institutions, the Credit Union National Association said in a comment letter to the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).

Social media has the potential to improve market efficiency by more broadly distributing information to users of financial services, and, "as social media matures, more financial institutions will use them to interact with members and customers," CUNA Deputy General Counsel Mary Dunn wrote. CUNA encourages any media platform that makes communication with members more effective and efficient, she added.

The CUNA comment letter addresses FFIEC proposed guidance, released in January, on how consumer protection and compliance laws, regulations, and policies could be applied to the use of online social media platforms by credit unions and other financial institutions. Poor due diligence, oversight, or control of social media platforms can create increased risks for financial institutions and their members or customers, and the guidance outlines expectations for managing those risks.

Credit unions and other financial institutions are moving more of their main marketing efforts toward social media and other online channels, according to a 2013 State of Bank & Credit Union Marketing study by The Financial Brand, a website for financial services marketers. The study found that seven in 10 bank and credit union marketers said online advertising and social media would be the most important outreach platforms in 2013.

Credit union respondents to a separate Financial Brand survey said their twitter accounts averaged about 400 followers, and added, on average, about 100 new followers in 2012.

CUNA is active on the social media front, informing consumers on how they can find a credit union to call their own through aSmarterChoice.org. Social media outreach is also a key component of CUNA's Tax Toolkit, which helps credit unions inform their members on the importance of the credit union tax status, and what this tax status means for them financially.

Insight from CUNA experts is also delivered through CUNA's official blog site, CUNAVerse. NewsNow Live Wire (@NewsNowLiveWire) uses 140 characters at a time to transmit breaking credit union news, and interesting articles from outside sources, to the masses through microblogging site Twitter. CUNA also maintains Facebook pages for member business lending and other advocacy efforts, Credit Union House, among other things.

For the CUNA comment letter, and more on aSmarterChoice.org, CUNA's Tax Toolkit and other CUNA social media efforts, use the resource links.
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