MReport July 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 39 of 67

38 | M R EP O RT FEATURE The TCPA is one of the most heavily litigated consumer protec- tion statutes in the country. Legal precedent has already been set in cases related to TCPA where class action plaintiff lawyers success- fully filed suit against lead genera- tors, mortgage lenders, and banks, arguing vicarious liability. Outbound telemarketing calls to both first-party and third-party generation leads are subject to TCPA restrictions. Therefore, it is critical for companies calling consumers to have a clear, well documented compliance program. Well-intentioned marketers can avoid these trappings by revisit- ing their data privacy policies to ensure they are in compliance with TCPA and similar regula- tion. (Pro tip: the FCC and FTC allow for a safe harbor defense regarding violations of the National Do Not Call Registry. Worth repeating, fortune favors the prepared.) Good data privacy practices should consider all angles of local, state, and federal compliance as well as a documented data gover- nance policy. As consumers and legislators become increasingly focused on regulating the controls surrounding consumer data, new state regulations will continue to play a significant role influenc- ing online mortgage marketing. Lenders should also expect more dialogue around consumer's rights, ownership and transpar- ency of data collection and use. Where Lead Generation Goes Wrong R esponsible marketers col- lect personal information to enhance their customer's experi- ences and securely manage the data using the highest compliance standards. Honoring consumer privacy and understanding consumer preferences are critical components of providing excep- tional customer experiences. Unfortunately, in today's fast- moving and hyper-competitive online mortgage lending industry, the door has been opened for some unscrupulous marketers who deploy aggressive, noncom- pliant tactics to generate prospec- tive leads. Some use false claims of bait-and-switch mortgage rates, or try to incent consumers with freebies, while others run decep- tive ads implying government se- cured loans. Mortgage lenders can unknowingly receive consumer data through these tactics. Despite the lender community not condoning or engaging in these tactics, third-party market- ers, and deceptive consumer engagement methods can impact brand integrity. The FTC has made it clear through its enforce- ment efforts that risk applies to all companies in the chain including lead generators, affiliates, pub- lishers, call centers, and dialing technologies as well as the lenders and banks themselves. The FTC does not accept plausible deniabil- ity as a defense, and indemnifica- tion only gets you so far. Trust but verify. Working With Digital Media and Lead-Gen Partners M ortgage lenders utilizing lead generation programs must ensure every lead is compliant to their legal standards prior to contacting the consumer to avoid legal risk and reputation damage. Brands must know how, when, and where a lead was generated, and verify the consumer provided consent and intent prior to con- tacting a lead. Transparency is key when choosing a reputable lead generation partner. To protect brand integrity, it is important to work with ethi- cal and transparent agencies. The following guide can help marketers assess potential lead partners and their commitment to privacy and compliance best practices: • How does the lead provider view and manage risk related to state and Federal compli- ance and consumer privacy? Is it central to their business culture and decision making, or does the lead provider simply point to contractual obligations? Ideally, lead partners should go deeper and offer practical applications of policies and procedures. • Research what the market says about the organization. Check references, industry awards, and more importantly, third- party certifications related to compliance and privacy. Certifications can attest to a vendor's true compliance stance versus simply taking their word at face value. • Does the lead provider in- vest in people, process, and technologies to enable compli- ance? Do they have dedicated teams focused on consumer privacy, data security, and compliance? Do they regularly audit for adherence? Are there tools in place, or data partners to help build a proactive and defensible privacy position? • How is data sourced? How does a lead provider drive calls, and where do original consumer phone numbers and data originate from? Do they dial consumers from online or mobile lead forms? Can they ensure trace call data to the original lead form and show consumer consent? • Employ compliance partners and lead validation solutions. To gain insight into the qual- ity and behavior of purchased leads, partners like Jornaya can provide a wider view of prospective mortgage customer journeys and ensure real-time TCPA compliance and trans- parency before you contact the prospective borrower. In summary: know your vendors! Compliance is not a one- time, check-the-box formality. Mortgage lenders are already accustomed to a myriad of lend- ing regulations, and in reality, marketing regulations have caught up. Marketers must embrace regular audits, monitoring, and testing. With secure data manage- ment practices in place, marketers can leverage customer data with confidence. ROB ROKOFF is an SVP at Verisk Marketing Solutions, a leading data partner for the lending industry. Rokoff is an executive board member of the Professional Associations for Customer Engagement (PACE) and Consumer Consent Council. For more than two decades, he has worked with the nation's top brands across banking, lending, insurance, and higher education leveraging performance marketing to drive exceptional, safe, and efficient customer experiences. For more information, visit Transparency is key when choosing a reputable lead generation partner.

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