Q: What type of concerns should the bank consider if we decided to host a podcast with one of our mortgage loan originators and one of his friends who is a realtor? Currently, the plan is for the podcast to discuss the housing market, conduct interviews, and talk about what our city has to offer.
A: The main concern here would be a potential RESPA Section 8 violation, which in general prohibits referral relationships between the bank and settlement service providers.
“(b) No referral fees. No person shall give and no person shall accept any fee, kickback or other thing of value pursuant to any agreement or understanding, oral or otherwise, that business incident to or part of a settlement service involving a federally related mortgage loan shall be referred to any person. Any referral of a settlement service is not a compensable service, except as set forth in § 1024.14(g)(1). A company may not pay any other company or the employees of any other company for the referral of settlement service business.”
The bank should also follow its social media policy as I assume the bank will be sharing the podcast online. We also recommend including a disclaimer that the views expressed do not represent those of the bank.
Additionally, depending on the topics discussed, the bank may need to include certain disclosures. For example, if the podcast includes any home loan advertising, it must also include the “Equal Housing Lender” disclosure: https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/2000-6000.html).
Finally, we suggest reviewing our Advertising and Marketing Review Checklists for further guidance on the requirements: https://compliancealliance.com/find-a-tool/tool/advertising-and-marketing-review-checklists.
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