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Your Tool to Fintech Marketing Compliance – Built for BaaS

Shagun Mehta

Shagun Mehta

PR and Content Specialist
  • Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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If you’re a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) sponsor bank, or looking to become one, fintech partner marketing compliance is likely high on your priority list to address.

Between the FDIC’s most recent claims against fintechs like Maza (story covered by Fintech Business Weekly here) and the FTC announcing stronger intention to prevent deceptive marketing practices, compliance teams are facing even greater pressure to ensure their bank isn’t next in the hot seat.

If you’re looking to understand how you can efficiently and proactively manage and police your fintech partners’ marketing activities, You’ve come to the right place.

In this blog, we’ve put together everything you need to consider when preparing your BaaS marketing compliance strategy and how to do it without needing to 2x (or 5x) your head count.

Want to know more about how our tool can help your team save time and stay ahead of the regulators? Reach out to us here.

Biggest Hurdles to Ensuring Fintech Partner Marketing Compliance

Fintechs are innovation driven and one of the key reasons banks partner with them.

They are good at things like product development, brand-building, and marketing, but the truth is, compliance is not typically their greatest strong suit.

This means there’s a high probability these partners might – and likely will – step out of line with their marketing at one point or another.

While many sponsor bank(s) have compliance processes in place, it is clear they may not be comprehensive enough to catch even the most obvious content issues.

This is likely in part due to the fintech’s lack of compliance experience or personnel, but it is also because monitoring what fintech partners are doing is challenging and most often involves manual audits and spot-checking.

The problem with manual monitoring is it is time-consuming, not comprehensive so prone to errors, and does not scale effectively. So, what’s the alternative?

Introducing Fintel Check for BaaS

Fintel Check is a comprehensive marketing monitoring tool that is built to take the heavy lifting out of monitoring, finding, evaluating, and documenting fintech marketing activity.

In short, Fintel Check does the tedious heavy-lifting aspects of compliance monitoring so BaaS teams can focus on resolving issues found before the regulators do.

The platform is built on a rules-based engine. The rules tell the system what to monitor, and when the tool performs its scans, it will evaluate what it finds against the rules and provide an easy red, yellow, or green outcome.

This makes it easy for compliance teams to action any identified issues.

More importantly, the tool ensures wider and more frequent reviews and oversight, increases review accuracy, and gives teams much more comprehensive transparency on partner activity.

Fintel Check for BaaS dashboard
Image: Fintel Check for BaaS Dashboard. Expand your digital efforts and get complete transparency over your fintech partners’ activity and products. Book a demo now

Fintel Check in Action – Real Examples of How to Prevent and Avoid FDIC Claims

In early July, Jason Mikula of Fintech Business Weekly highlighted the challenges and weaknesses that BaaS players are still facing when it comes to operating their fintech partner programs in a safe and compliant manner.

These challenges most recently included issues with fintech partners making false and misleading claims in their marketing.

Many of these infringements identified by regulators are things that really “should” be easy to catch with the right tools in place.

We’ve pulled together a few tangible examples of how Fintel Check could have caught some of these identified issues from the article:

 

Flagged Issue : Maza repeatedly describes itself as a ‘banking service’ and ‘banking platform,’ without always making clear that such services are provided by banking partner Blue Ridge.

Image: Screencap of Maza’s site as of 6/28/2023 (via Fintech Business Weekly)

Solution : Rules to check for appropriate disclosures

In Fintel Check, a compliance team could create a rule with a conditional requirement that if “banking service” is mentioned on a fintech’s webpage(s), specific disclosure language defined in the rule must be present.

When the tool conducts its regularly scheduled scans, if the fintech’s content does not meet the rule’s specific criteria, this would be flagged in the tool’s reporting dashboard as a ‘fail’.

Not only that, but a compliance team would also be able to easily see in the web-based reports the specific pages where the fails occurred, what specifically the findings were compared to the “expected” results defined in the rule.

The alternative would be manually combing through the various assets and pages to spot-check the content on a regular basis.

 

Flagged Issue : The site also makes repeated use of the Department of Treasury and IRS logo and language, even claiming an ‘IRS guarantee.

Image: Screencap of Maza’s site as of 6/28/2023 (via Fintech Business Weekly)
Image: Screencap of Maza’s site as of 6/28/2023 (via Fintech Business Weekly)

 

Flagged Issue : There are a handful of other potentially false and misleading claims, including that Maza has “no hidden fees” and that users can “open an account in minutes.

Image: Screencap of Maza’s site as of 6/28/2023 (via Fintech Business Weekly)

Solution: Rules to check for use of “trigger” words

The tool has the ability to monitor specific “trigger” words or phrases. In this case, a compliance team could create a rule to monitor terms like “IRS,” “Department of Treasury” or “hidden fees.”

When the tool runs, every time it finds one of these terms in the content of the pages, it will store a record in the reports and alert the compliance team to further review the content where the words were found. Again, exact URLs are provided, and screenshots would be stored.

This means more time correcting potential issues rather than spending time trying to find them.

Next Steps in Enhancing Your Bank’s Compliance Processes

As you continue to grow your BaaS business and the number of fintech partners on board, it is likely time to evaluate what processes your organization has in place and where there are opportunities to enhance your team’s capacity — without having to increase your headcount.

Reach out to our team to learn more about Fintel Check and how leading BaaS banks and players are currently using the tool to amplify their compliance team capacity and set their BaaS programs up for long-term success.

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