Monday, September 26, 2011

"Like" the Fed

According to a Sentiment Analysis And Social Media MonitoringSolution RFP, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has decided that it is time for the Fed to "join the conversation" and begin monitoring what is being said about it on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.  As traditional media has increasingly lost significant influence over the masses - particularly the younger masses, the Fed appears to be interested in what is happening among the "mass of niches," a term used by Chris Anderson in his book The Long Tail.

According to the Request for Proposal ("RFP"), the Fed is looking for social media vendors that can assist the Fed in achieving the following:

A. Geographic Scope of Social Media Sites:  support content coming from different countries and geographical regions.

B. Content and Data Types:  the solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It must also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva, etc.

C. Reports and Metrics:  the solution must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics. It must be able to provide summaries or high level overviews of a specific set of topics. It should have a configurable dashboard that can easily be accessed by internal analysts or management. The dashboard must support customization
by user or group access. The solution should provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based a predefined trigger.

It looks like the Fed has been watching, listening and learning relative to the power of social media.  As things have gotten dicey for the Fed during this difficult economic period, it seems the Fed would like to play a larger role in understanding what is being said in order to develop an appropriate response.

Of course, anytime the Fed does anything out of the ordinary there will be conspiracy theorists jumping to action.  For example, why is the Fed seeking to monitor Fed-related conversations of bloggers and others?  Is it to quiet the dissent?!  Most likely it is for the same reasons Citibank, Bank of America, U.S. Bank and other large multinational financial organizations as well as much smaller banks are doing head off trouble through a social media-based early warning system and create brand value.  Social media is a powerful tool for any size organization.  If it's good for bankers why not central bankers.

It will be interesting to see how the Fed ultimately uses social media monitoring.  Will it take advantage of the lessons learned to-date by banks and other businesses or will it assume the rules do not apply to it and create a public disaster of this opportunity.  We'll see.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Using Facebook to Direct Community Contributions

First State Bank in Texas launched a social media-based contest to benefit local PTA groups. Through the use of a voting competition on Facebook, First State Bank will determine how to donate $8,500 to PTA groups in communities it serves. Along the way it will significantly increase the number of consumers that will track First State Bank's activities on their Facebook stream.

The contest will run for approximately a month. At the end of the month, the top three PTA groups will receive a portion of the $8,500.

According to First State Bank's Chief Lending Officer, the Bank's goal "is to help raise some money for the schools and get some interest in the bank." In just over two weeks the Bank has gone from 800 "likes" to over 7,800, making this a successful campaign for attracting consumers to the Bank's Facebook page.

Along with the rules of the contest, First State Bank provides participating PTA groups with the following tips for earning "likes" in their favor:


  • Make posters to hang in your school or community.
  • Tell your friends, neighbors, and relatives about the contest.
  • Ask them to vote daily!


  • Vote for your favorite school PTA / PTO every day between 9/15 and 10/15.
  • Set a reminder on your phone or calendar so you don't miss a day!
  • Use your social networking tools to tell everyone you know.
  • Post it on your Facebook page!
  • Tweet it!
  • Text it!
  • Assist your child in sending out emails or making phone calls to long distance relatives to get their votes.

School Staff

  • Ask faculty members to share a link to the contest on their own Facebook page after they've voted.
  • Include contest information in your weekly school newsletter and on your website.
  • Tell students about the contest during morning announcements.
  • Make an announcement to parents at your next PTA meeting.
  • Challenge each student to ask at least five relatives or neighbors to vote for their school.
  • Enlist a group of students to hold up signs about the contest during morning drop-off.
  • Keep a computer in your school's front lobby to give staff and parents easy access to voting. Put a sign next to it, asking people to log on to Facebook and vote.
  • Get the students and staff excited by giving them daily updates on how many votes the school has.

While these types of contests can be very effective in earning "likes," the challenge for banks is what to do once the contest is over.  Without subsequently engaging these individuals in meaningful ways, the first thing that will happen is the un-liking of the bank.  As such, any such contest should contemplate how the contest fits into the bank's overall social media strategy to maximize the time, energy and money put into the contest.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to Blow it With Social Media

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director of Social Media at Tamarin a guest blogger posting on Econsultancy provides the following 10 ways to avoid harming your social media strategy and upsetting your customers .

1. Don't Sell, Sell, Sell!
Do not use social media channels EXCLUSIVELY as a sales tool.  People hate to feel like they're being sold to.  Make sure sales content is pushed in a respectful and intelligent way.

2. Don't Treat Your Social Customers as a Nuisance
If a customer has taken the time to connect with you, reward them by showing them some common courtesy. Worst offense of all is to completely ignore questions from consumers.

3. Don't Assume All Social Media Platforms Are the Same
Do not use exactly the same content for your Facebook page and Twitter feed.  Tailor content to the channel.

4. Don't Act Like a Spammer
It's a brilliant way to annoy fans and create a backlash from users!

5. Don't Beg for More
Don't run promotions to find more followers, offering rewards to the new followers ("We'll give our 100,000th followers a free holiday!") without offering anything at all to the existing followers - a group of consumers who were both there from the start and loyal enough to continue following you while you grew and expanded. These are the people you need to think about rewarding first, not the fly-by-night, prize-loving gadabouts who will follow anybody who flashes a shiny object in front of their eyes...

6. Don't Target "New Customers Only"
The fact that you're running promotions on your social channels is a great start, and should be applauded. So don't go and ruin it all by only opening the promotion to new customers, or people in a certain demographic, while happily broadcasting it widely to everyone. Social networks are brilliant for targeting content, so do this wisely.

7. Don't Use An RSS Feed From Your Blog - Nobody Will Mind!
Nobody wants to follow a brand that uses an RSS feed of its blog or news page content in place of real content.  If you can't be bothered to spend a small amount of time writing original content for Twitter, why do you even want to use Twitter in the first place?

8. Don't Promote One Channel on the Other, Over and Over Again
Make sure you don't target content on one channel which is heavily promoting another.

9. Don't repeat yourself. Don't repeat yourself. Don't...
Recent studies have highlighted that posting the same piece of content a couple of times can give you positive results, particularly if it allows you to catch a completely different audience or timezone. But the examples used are people who post one bit of content a couple of times over 24 hours, hidden amongst a lot of other engaging content. Not the same tweet, posted several times a week at exactly the same time.  Nobody wants to be spammed with the same thing over and over, so just don't do it, okay? Simple.

10. Don't Brush the Nasty Bits Under the Carpet
It'll only snowball in to something worse if you ignore it, or worse still, delete it. Deal with it quickly and fairly. You'll probably end up looking better because of this than if you'd just deleted it in the first place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Make These Mistakes!

Diane Charton, managing director at Acceleration Media, provided these five gems to avoid in administering a social media program in a blog post at The Media Online.

1. Inauthenticity

Customers expect authenticity from the organizations with which they interact. Don't pretend to be something that you are not. Inject genuine passion and care for your customers into your social media content.

2. Thinking that you’re bullet proof

Brands and their managers need to be aware that they are not invincible online.  Identify your weak spots and be ready to communicate about them in a proactive manner when trouble hits.

3. Failing to plan and acting before you think

Have a social media plan and some sort of process for publishing content through social channels.  Have clear plans about how to respond to a range of queries and situations in order to act quickly but intelligently.

4. Imagining customers are not talking about you

People will be talking about your business whether you are there to reply to them or not. It is far better to be able to monitor the conversation and to reply if and when appropriate. This allows you to help shape the conversation about your brand and to learn a great deal about your customers in the process.

5. Making customers look for you

Set up a presence in as many of the major social media channels as possible and to then market through the ones where you would prefer customers to engage with you.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Five Ways Banks Continue to Use Social Media

It's been a couple years since Lon S. Cohen wrote his "5 Ways Banks Are Using Social Media" article for  But two years later, the five ways remain.  So here they are again.

1. Community Building

Foster community rather than appear monolithic and imposing. Focus on customer service and adopt the personality of the people served.

2. Product Research

Whether you’re crowdsourcing to find out what customers think of your services or using social media as one tool in your arsenal to enlist customers to help develop new products, a social network is an undeniably powerful research and development resource.

3. Customer Service

Real-time search can be helpful in addressing problems with customers. In other cases, a visible Twitter account can be a quick and easy first step in the customer service chain when people want to get specific information.

4. Marketing and Promotion

Use social media to brand and market a specific product or service by integrating social tools into existing campaigns or creating new ones that capitalize on the spirit of the community.

5. Transparency

The current financial crisis has led many customers to distrust banks, which is one reason why many banks are now turning to social media as a way to become more transparent to customers and build trust.

Social Media Is Problem Solving - Not Rocket Science

According to Jeff Molander, Loyola University Business School, social media challenges marketers to design conversations in ways that solve customers’ problems.  According to Molander, the key to selling more with social media is based on organizations developing a way of creating conversations with consumers that provide value through problem solving.

Molander points to Anchor Bank as an example of an organization that follows customers, not trends. Their customers signal the “when, where, why and how” that powers technology decision making. Anchor Bank translates customers’ needs and responds by scratching their itches—and in the process earning more transactions. They’re helping customers navigate themselves toward needed answers.

Molnader's key take-away: brainstorm gestures for your company that help solve your customers’ problems and make products more relevant. Start in areas of strength. For instance, AnchorBank focuses on helping customers get out of debt, learn about appropriate sources of financing, and prepare their “money lives” for divorces or marriages.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Effective Social Media Risk Management

Raj Chaudhary and Erika Del Giudice of Crowe Horwath LLP provide the following tips for a sound social media risk management program. These tips were taken from their article on the ABA Banking Journal Web site.

1. Engage a multidisciplinary team. Social media is not just an IT or marketing problem.

Since social media activity affects a wide range of functions, an effective strategy brings together senior representatives from Human Resources, Legal, Information Technology, Marketing, Risk Management, Public Relations, Compliance, and any other affected functions.

Assigning a project or program manager will help to track and maintain the team’s progress.

2. Document current and intended social media use. The multidisciplinary team’s first order of business should be to document how each department currently uses social media and how it intends to use it in the future.

It’s up to the multidisciplinary team to use the bank’s overall strategy as a guide to determine which types of social media use align with organizational objectives. The team then establishes how the bank--including its employees, recruiters, marketers, and IT department--will use and be affected by social media. Having multiple people involved in making these decisions can present a challenge, but having one person responsible for the execution of the social media strategy--and having the support of senior management--will move this process along more quickly.

3. Perform a risk assessment. Before the multidisciplinary team can even consider safeguards and controls, it must identify and quantify the various risks associated with social media use.

This risk assessment takes into account the likelihood and potential damage resulting from occurrences such as employee defamation of the bank, its products, or its leadership--as well as any other risks to which social media use exposes a bank. The risk assessment also involves identifying the controls that are already in place, which could be mitigating a portion of the risk. To help prioritize the most significant risks, a bank can determine the sufficiency of these controls and work them into an overall residual risk rating.

4. Expand current policies to include social media. Once risks have been identified, it should be apparent whether, and where, the bank’s policy needs to be expanded in order to better address the risks.

A bank can choose to centralize social media guidelines by including them in a single policy. Or it could incorporate the guidelines into existing policies and add new content to cover social media risks. Whichever option a bank chooses, the policy needs to be easily accessible to employees and cover some basic topics: appropriate and inappropriate employee use of social media; human resources policies; information security policies; marketing and communications policies; and vendor management policies.

A 2011 survey by nCircle found that 68% of companies have social media policies--up from 58% in 2010. (How many employees follow them is a different question.)

5. Implement safeguards. A Proofpoint survey from August 2010 found that one in five U.S. companies had investigated a data leak that occurred via a posting on a social media site.

Social media is a channel unprotected by typical information security safeguards, which tend to focus on an organization’s controlled network. As such, organizations must evaluate a new set of information security risks and mitigate them with information security policies and controls.

6. Provide social media training. Even the best policies will be ineffective if employees don’t understand them.

It’s critical for a bank to invest its time and resources into educating its workforce about the intricacies of its social media policy. Training should include examples of appropriate and inappropriate communications and actions, distinguishing between positive and negative use of the medium, and highlighting the constant threats present on these sites. In addition, training should not be a one-time occurrence, but, rather, an ongoing effort.

7. Monitor social media channels. Banks also need to consider how they will stay current on social media chatter that could have an impact on their objectives.

Social customer relationship management (CRM) tools, composed of software products and vendor services, can help banks monitor public channels for social media chatter that could affect the organization. How an organization responds to negative comments made via social media entails significant risks of its own.

NestlĂ©’s Facebook page, for instance, was inundated with negative comments in March 2010 following a Greenpeace campaign against the company’s use of palm oil. The company’s attempt to restrict commentary drew more unwanted attention to the issue and created a public relations disaster.

Bank Security Officer Wanted - Social Media Skills a Plus

The Security Officer for BBVA Compass Bank likely received a crash course in social media tonight after someone attempted to rob BBVA's Vestavia Liberty Parkway Branch.

Police in Vestavia Hills are looking for a man who they say tried to rob BBVA Compass Bank. Bank surveillance camera photos of the suspect from the attempted robbery have been posted to the Vestavia Hills Police Department Facebook page.

Increasingly police departments are turning to social media sites to share information and alert the public about wanted individuals. Facebook has increasingly become a valuable crime fighting tool for banks and police investigators.

If you're a Bank Security Officer you may want to do a few things to improve your chances of catching perps:

1) Implement procedures that allow immediate transfer of video and photos to Internet-friendly formats. The faster the images are available, the better the chances of catching criminals.

2) Determine immediately upon an incident whether the local police department has a Facebook or other social media site established for the purpose of distributing images and video to the public.

3) Do not post any photos or video of the crime on the bank's Facebook page without first consulting with the local police department. They may have a strategy that may conflict with your strategy. So if the bank wishes to post photos or video, first run it past the police department. In addition, posting such information may create reputational harm by giving the impression to customers that visit the bank's Facebook page that the bank's branches are not safe. So having the information posted on the police department site may be the best  bet.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Using Location-Based Social Media Without Driving Up Branch Costs

On August 30, 2011, The Financial Brand posted a great article on the use of location-based social media platforms such as Foursquare. According to the article, "most retail financial institutions have spent the better part of the last decade shooing people out of costly branch networks, choosing to push online, mobile and paperless solutions over one-to-one, personal interactions. Most banks and credit unions have done what they can to keep consumers out of branches and reduce transaction volumes."

It's true.  Since online banking and ATM availability have become ubiquitous banks have looked to leverage these lower cost options in lieu of the higher costs associated with branch operations.  So why are banks now trying to drive the traffic back into the branches through "check-in" campaigns associated with location-based social media platforms?  Confusion.

In an attempt to make use of these very fun and interesting tools, marketers are unintentionally undermining years of effort in moving customers to lower cost distribution channels.  While there is some advantage to drive traffic to branches - to open accounts.  In most cases the transactions can be managed through online banking or automated phone banking.

If bank marketers insist on using location-based social media tools - and I believe they should, they need to get just a bit more creative.  For example, banks can identify their best business customers and reward consumers for checking in at bank business customer locations.  Or even better, how about struggling bank borrowers.  Send business to them so they can make they loan payments this month!

Banks are extremely supportive of community-based events and sponsor many such events.  How about rewarding customers for checking in at the local YMCA fundraiser or farmers market or similar community event.

Location-based social media platforms are great.  But marketers need to think a little bit before unleashing their power.  With a little thought banks can make use of a great tool while creating significant benefit for the bank and the community - without having to hire more tellers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A recent B & T article featured Australia's Commonwealth Bank.  The feature of the story was Andrew Lark, Commonwealth Bank's newly installed Chief Marketing Officer.  Mr. Lark highlighted Commonwealth Bank’s recent tie-up with Facebook Deals, offering people who opened a transaction account at the bank and liked the company on Facebook and checked in at a branch using Facebook Places, two free movie tickets every month for a year.  The strategy was successful from the point of view of new customer acquisition.  According to Commonwealth Bank's Facebook page it opened 2,200 new accounts.

While the campaign itself met its objective of establishing new accounts and growing its Facebook subscriber base, the campaign also went a long way upsetting existing customers who did not feel the love as they were not eligible for the free tickets.  Obviously, the point of the campaign was new accounts.  However, as detractors filed comment after comment on the Bank's Facebook page dedicated to the offer, Commonwealth Bank was no where to be found, resulting in greater and greater criticism.

Where Commonwealth Bank failed was in addressing the comments head on and explaining its strategy.  With social media you live by the sword and die by the sword.  In this case, the sword is transparency.  Commonwealth Bank's lack of transparency and participation let a great opportunity escape to "be real."  Instead of hiding from the comments the bank should have come out and explained the strategy so that its longstanding customers understood.  Along the way the bank would have picked up some helpful information to use relative to customer service and marketing.

Social Media + Mobile = Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery

An area of banking that is the equivalent of going to the dentist is the business continuity planning/disaster recovery ("BCP/DR") preparation and testing.  While there is nothing more true than the old saying regarding an ounce of prevention, there is nothing more frustrating and tedious than thinking and planning for the unthinkable.  Regardless, as bankers we must make sure we do not fail to plan so as to not plan to fail.  Lives may depend on it.

A recent American Banker article discussed how banks recently affected by hurricane Irene used social media and mobile to efficiently address BCP/DR challenges.  During the recent storm, banks such as Citibank and TD Bank used social media and mobile to inform customers of branch closures and ATM availability.  This enabled customers to limit their exposure to the hurricane and obtain the needed services to manage through the storm.

Whether the event is a storm, civil disobedience, earthquake or other natural or man-made disaster, the more information a consumer has the safer the consumer will be.  Social media and mobile can be used to provide customers with "hot spots" such as floods, riots, fires, etc, near branches and ATMs and suggest safer alternatives.  The same social media and mobile combination can be used to obtain information from customers regarding dangers.

While social media will not do much to prevent or resume banking operations, it is a nice option to have for customers during difficult times.  Every bank should consider using its social media accounts to keep customers informed throughout a disaster.

Wells Fargo Provides College Students with Motherly (Fatherly) Advice

Wells Fargo is attempting to be less "corporate" and more "human" in a recent campaign to reach out to college-aged students.  The bank has offered up 10 tips for college students to protect themselves. 

According to Cristie Drumm, spokeswoman for Wells Fargo in Denver,“people ages 18 to 24 take nearly twice as long to detect fraud before other age groups.  We want to help our customers protect themselves from identity theft. It’s a constant and growing problem.”

For example, young people also tend to “overshare” on social media, so it wouldn’t hurt to remind them that fraudsters often get access to private information via Facebook.  Wells' advice to students: don’t over share. Social media is increasingly popular, but it’s a good idea to keep personal information private. Fraudsters can use personal information such as birth date, mother’s maiden name and pet’s name, to help gain access to an account. Also, it’s a good idea to keep other information private such as mobile and home phone numbers; email address; and dorm, apartment and home addresses.

This is a great example of a bank sharing important lessons of social media use.  Other tips should be Post It Once, View It Forever.  Youth need to know that the Internet is forever and that any photos, comments, videos and other information posted today can lead to serious ramifications in the future.

See the complete list of advice here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Legal Issues Every Bank Should Consider

The attorneys at Frost Brown Todd  have provided the following "10 Legal Issues Every Bank Should Consider" before jumping head first into social media.  FBT advise banks to adopt a social media policy that both achieves its goals and protects it from legal risks. In addition to the legal issues that every business faces when engaging in social media, a financial institution faces very specific set of regulations that require careful consideration. When creating a social media policy for a financial institution, the following ten issues, laws and regulations should be considered.

  1. Privacy: One of the greatest risks associated with a financial institution’s use of social media is the protection of private information. Among other things, the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) requires financial institutions to protect the personal information of its customers. When posting or communicating over social media, financial institutions and their employees must remember that the information being published can be accessed by the public at large and personal information cannot be disclosed. Also, if the financial institution is collecting information over social media, certain privacy disclosures must be made, including an opportunity to opt out of any disclosure of a customer’s information to third parties. Finally, the GLBA includes protections against “pretexting” or the practice of obtaining private information under false pretenses.

  2. Informal Posts May Be “Advertising”: The FDIC broadly defines the term advertisement as “a commercial message, in any medium, that is designed to attract public attention or patronage to a product of business.” Regulation Z, discussed below, defines an advertisement as “a commercial message in any medium that promotes, directly or indirectly, a credit transaction.” 226.2(a)(2). Regulation DD defines advertisement to include any “commercial message, appearing in any medium, that promotes directly or indirectly the availability or terms of. . . a new or existing account.” In each case, the definition is broad and could include informal communications in the form of tweets, blogs and comments.

  3. Required Advertising Statements: If a financial institution is engaging in advertising over social media, there are a variety of technical requirements that must be followed. For example, the FDIC requires an official advertising statement and/or the FDIC logo be used. 12 CFR § 328.3. Another example requires banks advertising loans for dwellings to include the “equal housing lender logotype” and/or indicate that the bank makes such loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. 12 CFR § 328.3. Similarly, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) requires an official advertising statement from its members on their website and in advertising. 12 CFR § 740.5.

  4. False and Deceptive Advertising: The new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is now charged with the power to prohibit “unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices” with respect to consumer financial products and services. Financial institutions engaging in social media should be careful not to run afoul of deceptive advertising laws. The prohibition against deceptive advertising by financial institutions is nothing new. Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. § 45) prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” in commerce. The FTC Act excludes banks from FTC enforcement authority. However, for some time, banking regulators have interpreted the enforcement ban against the FTC to mean that banking regulators themselves should enforce Section 5 under Section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance (FDI) Act (12 U.S.C. § 1818), which permits “the appropriate Federal banking agency” to bring enforcement actions against banks that are “violating or [have] violated, or … [are] about to violate, a law, rule or regulation.”

  5. Endorsements: The FTC has released guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. These guidelines were developed to help advertisers comply with the FTC Act. The guidelines require disclosures regarding any material connection to the endorser, including celebrities, bloggers, experts and consumers. In addition, advertisements must only reveal typical results and cannot hide behind a safe harbor disclosure that “results are not typical.” There are many social media forums available where persons can post comment about a financial institution or its products. Financial institutions should make clear to employees that if they make any comments about the financial institution, its products, or services in social media, they must disclose their relationship with the company.

  6. Securities Laws: Employees may jeopardize private securities offerings by engaging in conduct only permitted by licensed brokers, releasing information too soon (“gun-jumping”), making untrue statements of material fact, performing insider trading, or other misuses of confidential information that violate securities laws. See also Securities Exchange Commission Guidance on the Use of Company Web Sites, 17 CFR Parts 241 and 247 [Release Nos. 34-58288, IC-28351; File No. S7-23-08], effective date August 7, 2008.

  7. Advertising Consumer Credit: The Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z) assures the meaningful disclosure of consumer credit and lease terms, including those in advertisements, so that consumers can easily compare terms and shop wisely for credit. If you or your employees are engaging in communications regarding credit or lease terms over social media, then the requirements of Regulation Z apply. Also, a record of any communication of this kind must be retained for 2 years.

  8. Advertising Deposit Accounts: The Truth in Savings Act (Regulation DD) contains certain requirements for any commercial message in any medium that promotes, directly or indirectly, deposit accounts. If a communication of this type is sent over social media or otherwise, it may not be misleading or inaccurate. Regulation DD also prohibits any description of an account as “free” or “no cost” (or contain a similar term) if any maintenance or activity fee may be imposed on the account. If the advertisement states a rate of return, it must be expressed as an annual percentage yield and certain other disclosures must be made. There are some exemptions for advertisements that are made electronically, but some disclosures are still required. Finally, if a communication of this type is sent, a record of the message must be retained for 2 years.

  9. Loan Application Communications: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B) provides certain requirements for any organization that regularly extends credit, including banks, small loan and finance companies, retail and department stores, credit card companies, and credit unions. Everyone who participates in the decision to grant credit or in setting the terms of that credit, including real estate brokers who arrange financing, must comply with the ECOA. Among other things, the Act prohibits lenders from discouraging borrowers from applying or rejecting an application because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because an applicant receives public assistance. This Act requires all records related to a loan application be maintained for 25 months (ie: complaints or comments regarding the loan must be retained). Thus, any communications made over social media related to a loan application must be preserved in some way.

  10. Communications Regarding Community Reinvestment: The Community Reinvestment Act (Regulation BB) is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. However, there are some provisions that require communications, whether over social media or otherwise, be preserved. Specifically, Regulation BB provides that a bank shall maintain a public file that includes “all written comments received from the public for the current year and each of the prior two calendar years that specifically relate to the bank's performance in helping to meet community credit needs, and any response to the comments by the bank, . . . .” If a community bank or its employees are engaging conversations over social media regarding community credit needs, efforts should be undertaken to preserve those comments and responses.

In addition to these 10 tips, be sure to read:

1) Bank Lawyer's Social Media Checklist
2) Social Media and Bank Compliance Requirements

Investment Advisors Joining the Conversation

The Street reported that Morgan Stanley was rolling out a program for 600 of its advisers to use several social media sites, with the "most productive financial advisers" being the first to gain access, first by setting up LinkedIn profiles, and then sending out messages through that site through other social media outlets, including Twitter.

Now that FINRA has issued Regulatory Notice 10-06 (January 2010), providing guidance on the application of FINRA rules governing communications with the public to social media sites and reminding firms of the recordkeeping, suitability, supervision and content requirements for such communications, expect more firms to pick up the pace.

Developing Brand and Community Through Facebook - Eastern Bank

It is always great to see community banks competing with "the big guys" in the world of social media.  One such example is Eastern Bank, headquartered in Boston.  Eastern Bank, originally established as Salem Savings Bank in 1818, is a staple when it comes to community banking in and around the Boston area.

Eastern Bank set up a great Facebook fan page, driven mainly by its Red Sox sponsorship. In early August 2011, Eastern Bank announced its “Grand Slam Sweepstakes.”  In order to enter, participants had to“like” Eastern Bank on Facebook. Eastern Bank has over 7,000 Facebook “likes” - a significant number for most banks.  Eastern Bank has adopted Facebook as a means to develop its brand and engage the community.

Using Video and Social Media to Grow Deposits

According to Marketing Week, HSBC used Facebook to promote its student bank accounts using a video competition.  HSBC decided to use video rather than the email entries. Students wishing to take part had to upload a 90-second video to the Facebook page explaining how the prize money would help them make a mark on the world. Facebook users chose the top 20 videos and the winner was chosen by a panel of judges.

The campaign yielded 149 entries, with 8,940 votes cast. The Facebook page saw 50,000 interactions with people in one month, with more than 2 million impressions. The cost to acquire each student bank account afterwards was six times lower than the previous year.

Officer Social Media Working the Beat

According to Bank Technology News, "when Westpac was recently targeted by web crooks, the Australian bank used another online venue to warn consumers, sending a Tweet warning consumers of the crime. The alert was part of a new trend—using social media to publicly expose online fraud attacks in real time—that Anti-Phishing Workgroup Chairman Dave Jevans says can be an effective way to spread security warnings, if it’s done right."  Westpac tweeted an alert warning of a fake email that claimed to advise customers to download a new security program. The email instead carried a Trojan download. Twitter can warn customers instantaneously, without sending emails that could be construed as a malicious phishing attempt.

Social media has been primarily used by banks as an informational and customer service venue.  Using social media to warn about malware attacks is a new and powerful use, but is also a strategy that requires banks to be aware of how the Twitter, Facebook and other sites can be used by crooks themselves.

NAB's Breakup Campaign

The results of the "break-up" viral campaign by National Australia Bank improved its market share and raised its profile. The "break-up" campaign, which began in February 2011, started with a tweet saying "Sooooo stressed out. Have to make a tough decision and I know I'll probably hurt someone's feelings! Arrggghhh." It then went on to include a standalone micro-site detailing that NAB was "breaking up" with other Australian banks. This campaign also featured heavy use of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube videos to spread the "you're dumped" message. The campaign resulted in a 50% boost in credit card applications, a 20% increase in mortgage applications, a 35% increase in interest from customers of other banks in moving over to NAB, and a 1% increase in NAB's share of the mortgage business.

Check out the NAB video here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

TD Bank's Success with Radian6

According to Bank Technology News, "The latest incarnation of TD Bank's buildup of a broad social media program for North America—the embedding of Twitter staff within the contact center—is only a few months old, but the bank has already discovered the formula to win an impressive spike in the use of social media to resolve customer queries."

"By embedding its Twitter experts with the contact center, and tying the two staffs' efforts together with a real-time online monitoring and analysis engine, the bank has seen a 25 percent monthly growth in Twitter use for customer service for each of the past three months."

Check out the Bank Technology News article here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ASB Bank's Customer Service Project on Facebook

A recent post on The Media Online highlighted a campaign by ASB Bank in New Zealand. According to The Media Online, ASB Bank created a virtual banking experience on Facebook, effectively using the social media platform as a conversation platform knowing that this is where their customers spend their time.

Of course, before moving your customer service function over to Facebook, be sure to check out the post on Social Media and Bank Compliance Requirements

Social Media and Bank Compliance Requirements

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HSBC Launches Social Media Newsroom

HSBC has launched a social media newsroom for journalists, bloggers and online commentators. The site has been designed to be a 'go to' site for all comment and information on the UK Bank's position on key issues and latest announcements.

The HSBC social media newsroom is designed to be a central hub for all bank announcements, staff activity and community events.

The site is divided into two sections to reflect the areas of HSBC Bank Plc: Personal Finance and Business Banking and brings together not only press releases and articles but also video and images hosted on YouTube and Flickr.
Personal Finance:

Hubspot's Five Ways Community Banks Can Adopt Social Media

Dave Clarke, an award-winning editor and editorial director in the marketing departments of Fortune 500 companies such as Oracle and Symantec provides the following five tips to community bank social media usage as a guest blogger on

1. Understand that, while social media creates a virtual community, it takes real time to properly service and manage your social media. Time management is crucial. Create a strategy for what types of messages will be posted, by whom, and how often. Don’t limit your marketing to banking topics only. Keep the community front and center, too in your social media efforts.

2. Get your internal policy right. Make sure staff across the bank understand how social media works in a business setting and how that intersects with their professional responsibilities.

3. Read everything. Social media platforms are constantly evolving and changing. Just when you think you have a platform mastered, the technology, user demographics or even the jargon associated with those channels can shift.

4. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but with banking regulations being what they are, the privacy policies guiding their posting (especially if they include customers) can be 10 times that. Work with your legal department to streamline the process to get photos posted in a timely manner. Photos of community bankers out in the community are one of the most valuable tools for conveying the bank’s commitment to the community at large.

5. Be sure executive management, IT, and marketing are all behind your social media efforts. Without any one of them, your social media campaign cannot succeed.

An additional resource for community banks is the 2008 (dated but still relevant!) Community Banker's Guide to Social Network Marketing as well as the Human Resources Guide to Social Media Risks.

Third Federal Bank Uses Mascot and Social Media to Create Community

3rd Fred, the lime green, amorphous mascot of Third Federal Bank, has gone missing and the Bank is using social media to get its customers and prospective customers to help to find him. The marketing campaign coincides with Third Federal’s 90th anniversary. The Bank’s marketing team created a series of Internet videos and is using social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube to get out the word. The effort has captured the attention of the American Bankers Association, which mentioned the campaign in a post on its Banking Journal website.

Check out the videos here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Financial Services Roundtable Releases "Social Media Risks and Mitigation"


Social media is a term used to define the relatively recent phenomenon of mass personal publishing most often intended for public consumption and typically conducted in an interactive and conversational style. Social media‘s rapid growth – it is now the most popular online activity – has garnered the attention of the commercial space, including financial institutions hoping to meet their customers‘ evolving needs and expectations through this medium.

Social Media and Risk Mitigation - June 2011
Recognizing the rapid adoption of social media exemplified by now familiar sites Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, BITS has developed this paper to provide financial services companies with insight into the various risks associated with the deployment and use of social media. This paper does not intend to cover every situation an organization might encounter, but instead serves to highlight the issues common to many financial institutions and provide guidance on how these risks might be moderated.

This paper is intended for a general audience, from business practitioners to compliance, risk and legal professionals, primarily from a United States perspective. It provides a synopsis of the major themes an FI should consider when using and deploying social media and is best used as a reference guide, delving into the situation or organizational section that is most appropriate to the reader. To assist readers in identifying which sections are most applicable to their purpose and expertise, a risk matrix is provided in Appendix E.

This paper addresses risks and mitigation methods for financial institutions using social media from three perspectives: To communicate with or service customers, By employees within a financial institution in personal and professional capacities, and By employees or contractors outside the office.