RSK.IQ Question of the Week 6/17/19

Use of FDIC Official Statement and Equal Housing Lender Legend and Logotype


The Bank displays the FDIC official statement and Equal Housing Opportunity logo on its bank account statements. If the Bank includes an insert that announces a new location or wishes customers a happy summer, will such statement and/or logo need to appear?

Response Summary

The Bank would be required to display the FDIC official statement on the insert, since this would be considered an advertisement. However, it would not be required to display the Equal Housing Lender legend and logotype on either the bank account statement or the insert.

Response Detail

FDIC Official Advertising Statement 

Under the FDIC advertising rules, the FDIC official advertising statement must appear in all advertisements that either promote deposit products and services or promote non-specific banking products offered by a depository institution. 12 CFR §328.3(c).

The official advertising statement is “Member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation”; however, a depository institution may also use “Member of FDIC”, “Member FDIC”, or a reproduction of the FDIC’s symbol as an option for the official advertising statement. Such statement must be of a size and print that is clearly legible. 12 CFR §328.3(a),(a)(2),(b)(1).

The term “advertisement” means a commercial message in any medium that is designed to attract public attention or patronage to a product or business. For the purposes of the regulation, an advertisement promotes non-specific banking products and services if it includes the name of the insured depository institution, but does not list or describe particular products or services offered by the institution. An example of such advertisement would be, “Anytown Bank, offering a full range of banking services.” 12 CFR §328.3(a),(b)(1).

Certain types of advertisements do not require the FDIC official statement, such as institution stationeries (except when used for circular letters), deposit slips, checks, drafts, signature cards, certificates of deposit, and deposit passbooks. 12 CFR §328.3(d)(2).

For instances when the FDIC official statement is not required, a depository institution can still display such provided that there is no confusion with non-deposit obligations, such as insurance products, for which such display is not permitted. FDIC Advisory Opinion 93-2.

In this case, the FDIC official statement would not be required for a bank account statement, as this would be akin to stationery or deposit slips rather than something on which a commercial message appears. However, the Bank would not be prohibited from using the FDIC official statement on a bank account statement as a way of acquainting the public with the fact that an institution’s depository products are FDIC-insured, which is the practice of most depository institutions except when prohibited.

An insert announcing a new office location or wishing customers a happy summer would be considered an advertisement, in that it is designed to attract public attention or patronage to the Bank, even though a particular product is not mentioned. As such, the use of the FDIC official statement would be required for such an insert.

An argument can be made that the contents of an envelope mailed to a customer, inclusive of the bank account statement and insert, could be considered one item so that displaying the FDIC official statement on the bank account statement would satisfy the requirement of the official statement appearing on the insert. However, given that the FDIC official statement is specifically required for the insert, but not required for the bank account statement, it would be a better practice for the Bank to display the FDIC official statement on the insert in order to avoid such an argument altogether.

Equal Housing Lender

Under the FDIC advertising rules pertaining to Fair Housing, any bank that engages in any form of advertising regarding any loan for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing, or maintaining a dwelling, or any loan secured by a dwelling, shall prominently indicate within the advertisement, and in a manner that is appropriate to the advertising medium and format used, that the bank makes loans without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status. 12 CFR §338.3(a).

With respect to written and visual advertisements, this requirement can be satisfied by including a copy of the Equal Housing legend and logotype contained on the Equal Housing Lender poster within the advertisement. 12 CFR §338.3(a)(1).

This means that it is not necessary for the Bank to include the Equal Housing Lender logotype and legend in an advertisement if such is not for a dwelling-related loan product.

In this case, the Equal Housing Lender legend and logotype would not be required to appear on either the bank account statement or the insert, since neither advertise a dwelling-related loan product. However, the Bank may still choose to display the Equal Housing Lender legend and logotype, as many financial institutions do, in order to acquaint the public with the fact that the institution is an Equal Housing Lender.

This entry was posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019 at 6:00 am.

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