BY CINDY WILLIAMS
Do you know what your credit union employees are posting on social media during their personal time? What they are sharing could directly reflect back on your CU, so making your expectations on digital behavior clear is critical. Keep reading for advice on how to achieve such clarity.
The pitfalls and perks of participating in online conversations are something credit unions have bandied about for nearly a decade – probably longer in some of the more tech-savvy circles of the movement. Today, there is no shortage of information and advice regarding a credit union’s use of blogs, social media, consumer reviews and other, still-emerging, digital communities. Less information is available, however, about individual credit union employees’ participation in these communities – especially during off hours.
In this day and age, many credit union leaders may be wondering how an employee’s personal use of these tools affects the credit union. And who is watching to see how representatives of the cooperative behave online? Members? Business leaders? Law enforcement?
What about examiners?
In March of this year, a credit union mortgage loan services officer was fired for comments she made on her personal Facebook page. Although the comments, which included a racial slur, were not posted on the credit union’s Facebook page nor during her work hours, the credit union understood the ramifications. Beyond impacting the cooperative’s reputation in the community, one has to wonder, did leadership consider the potential regulatory consequences?
My mother always reminded me: You’re known by the company you keep. Might an employee’s actions on a personal social media page shine a spotlight on a credit union’s fair lending practices, especially if that employee holds a lending position? It’s not hard to imagine an examiner determining the employee’s actions call for a targeted review of the credit union’s lending activities. There would certainly be questions: Did this person apply her personal beliefs to lending decisions? Did she set a tone of unfair or discriminatory practices followed by others who either held the same beliefs or were intimidated into doing so by the commenter?