Do Not Call (DNC) Rules & Compliance for Loan Officers
I love compliance, and I'm sure you probably get that about me. I'm a huge compliance fan. And I go to the most amazing compliance conferences, like legal issues, and regulatory compliance, and things that are just – I mean, you would have a blast.
Sometimes I go to sales conferences instead of compliance conferences. I always go to the MBA annual event, and there's compliance, and there's sales and business development-type things, and legislative stuff there. But sometimes I go to just straight-up sales conferences of how to be a better salesperson as a loan originator.
Pick up sales tips from those things. But I also love watching loan officers talk about how they are violating the law and why you, too, should violate the law. And I know that sounds really strange, but that's actually what happens. So sometimes they'll bring up loan officers who will talk about what they're doing to produce more loans, and I love sitting in the room and hearing them talk about that. And one thing that I hear every time – not every time, but most of the time when I go to these conferences – is somebody's talking about how they're starting to work closer with realtors to get more business, and they're basically doing lead development, and they are calling leads back and then feeding those over to a real estate agent. So, in other words, the realtor and the loan officer go together on this marketing campaign or advertising campaign. When the lead comes in, the loan officer is doing all of the calling on that lead and basically warming it up, and when it's a good lead, they give that to the real estate agent.
We're not even going to get into all the RESPA violation implications there. What I want to talk about is just your ability to even make that phone call.
As a loan officer, if you are doing advertising and you want to get people to call you, that's great. You're out there, you're saying, "Bob's Mortgage Company, and call Bob's Mortgage Company to find out what the best rates are of the day," or something like that. So, you're advertising this – great. They call you, they know they're calling Bob's. If Bob's Mortgage Company advertises a real estate company and says, "Call about a house," and Bob's Mortgage Company isn't really on that ad or is just minor or whatever, if it says, "Click here to ask questions about this house," well, at that point, when the borrower clicks there and puts in their phone number, they haven't authorized the mortgage originator to call; they're looking for information from the real estate agent. So, you, as a loan officer, have to follow the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Do Not Call laws, make sure that you're doing this right, and if you read those really carefully, they must inquire with you for you to then call them back. So, if they inquired about a real estate, about buying a house, and they did not know they were looking for a mortgage, then that's not a position where you're actually legally able to call them back if they're on the Do Not Call list.
So, every mortgage company should have access to the Do Not Call list. And when you're going to make a phone call to somebody, you check that number against the list and see if they're on it. If they are on the list, then you're not going to make that call for the real estate agent. You are not allowed to make the call. They didn't inquire with you, they inquired with the real estate agent. Let them take care of that.
In just general advertising, the borrower should know what they're getting, it should be very clear, and when they reach out to somebody, the person that calls them back should be the person that's calling back about that specific area. So, be careful in any of your co-marketing things when you're working together that you're not making the phone call that may be a violation.
So, again, check everybody against the Do Not Call list. Make sure that you're calling them and that you're legally allowed to before you call. Now, obviously there's exemptions to this, right? So, if you have a loan currently going with a borrower, they've already connected with you, you've already taken their application, then you have a bit of time to call them, right? So, now we can call them back, it's transactional in nature. So, anytime you're calling and saying, "We're doing a loan, we need a W-2," or something like that, that's just regular business. Because the TCPA, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, actually only covers those sales calls and not the transactional calls. So, if you're reaching out and doing what's called telemarketing, then you would be covered. So, just be careful with your relationships like that, be careful with your calling people back, and be careful when you get somebody – let's say a real estate agent says, "Hey, I just talked to this new borrower, you should totally call them." That's a case where you would need to check in with the Do Not Call laws, check in with your Do Not Call list. Make sure that you're compliant before you call them back. Even though it's a referral, it's still something where you're reaching out and making a telephone solicitation or a telemarketing call. You must be compliant with the Do Not Call laws.
If you're at all confused about this, check with your company's policy around who you're allowed to call, when you're allowed to call them, and where the company keeps the Do Not Call list so that you can make sure you're checking all of these against those. It's not a good area for you to not pay attention to, because all it takes is a borrower to say, "Who are you? Why are you calling me? I'm on the no call list," and it's a really quick and easy way for them to get $500 or more from you, and it's a $16,000 violation if they catch you at the federal level, the FTC catches you or the FCC catches you doing this, it's a much bigger fine. So, just make sure that you're reading your company's policy on Do Not Call laws, you're not calling somebody that didn't reach out to you directly and know that it's you calling them back, and you're not just out there doing cold calling without paying attention to the Do Not Call list.