Heads Up, Financial Institutions - New Guidance on the Use of Social Media

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued guidance entitled "Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance," which applies to banks, credit unions, savings associations, and other financial institutions supervised by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Guidance became effective immediately upon its publication on December 11, 2013.

Although the Guidance does not impose any new regulatory requirements or duties on financial institutions, it does provide a road map for how existing regulations apply to financial institutions' use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For example, the Guidelines help financial institutions manage emerging areas of risk, such as the use of virtual worlds and internet games to launder real world money and finance terrorism. Social media has become ubiquitous, with almost every person using one form or another. In the highly regulated world of financial institutions, the FFIEC issued the Guidance to communicate its expectations on how financial institutions should assess the risks of using social media and how best to craft policies to manage that risk.

All businesses, but in light of this Guidance, financial institutions in particular, should include a review of social media policies among their 2014 New Year resolutions.

Spotts Fain publications are provided as an educational service and are not meant to be and should not be construed as legal advice. Readers with particular needs on specific issues should retain the services of competent counsel.


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