Determining borrowers’ creditworthiness based on their social connections from Facebook — sound a bit crazy? Prepare yourself, this may become a reality.

Recently, Facebook’s patent on a technology that tracks the way users are connected in a network made the news again. Facebook originally filed this patent in 2011, but the new-use case that has been put forth in a recent iteration of the invention suggests lenders can use the technology to examine the creditworthiness of potential borrowers by taking into consideration the credit ratings of the borrowers’ social connections on Facebook.

Facebook writes: “When an individual applies for a loan, the lender examines the credit ratings of members of the individual’s social network who are connected to the individual through authorized nodes. If the average credit rating of these members is at least a minimum credit score, the lender continues to process the loan application. Otherwise, the loan application is rejected.”

There is no indication of how non-applicant credit scores could be accessed by a lender without violating the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and similar state laws, or how under fair lending laws such information could be used to determine creditworthiness of an applicant.

Nevertheless, consider the opportunity information about creditworthiness being linked to Facebook offers you, specifically with regard to increased reach and the ability to engage a large number of readers with interesting content.

Do this by taking the content further.

Successful social media engagement and opportunities typically come from great content and information. As a savvy loan officer with a finger on the pulse of all things mortgage, you can use the information about the Facebook patent to engage your audience through actionable items that spark interest and conversation.

Blog & Email

Consider a blog post about the topic as it relates to borrower creditworthiness. Engage your readers by including a poll asking them how they feel about the proposed patent. Once complete, pin the poll to the top of your Facebook Fan Page and use email marketing to raise awareness with your customers who may be affected. Point them to Facebook in your email and ask that they respond with their thoughts and comments there. Approaching the content this way can offer you a number of benefits.

Infographic

Create an infographic around the topic of Facebook’s patented technology. Providers like Canva are a great resource for creating quick, free and easy infographics. Be sure to find a relatable angle for your audience. For example, highlight a borrower’s path to securing a loan with an infographic that illustrates the life of a loan. Make sure to note where this Facebook technology patent might affect potential borrowers with regard to their creditworthiness. Creating easy-to-digest content helps to put industry news into perspective for the borrower.

Flyer

Broaden the scope of the creditworthiness conversation. Use your blog article as a jumping-off point to discuss the importance and value of a solid credit score. Craft a small flyer that doubles as a visual marketing piece; share with customers in the office or across social media. Highlight ways borrowers can improve their credit scores to help secure a loan.

Direct Mail

What about creating a direct mail piece? Consider targeting 18- to 35-year-olds (historically the highest concentration of social media users) who are renting in your local neighborhood, and have a credit score below 650. Grab their attention with a headline that reads something like, “Could Facebook Friends Influence You Getting a Home Mortgage?” Identify a few of the key details on the direct mailer. Be sure to include where you can be found on social media, as well as your email address, phone and website. As a call-to-action (CTA), direct recipients to contact you for helpful, easy, no-cost ways to improve their credit scores or learn more about what creditworthiness means.

My goal is to help you understand that any interesting article that comes across your plate, that affects your customers or those you work with, can be an opportunity to engage and educate your target audience. These tips can be scaled across any social media platform; the process will remain the same.

The benefit of capitalizing on a headline from a mass-market social media site like Facebook is that so many of your network connections are affected by the news. That means your content marketing efforts, with regard to industry news like this, will be more widely received by a greater number of people. So next time you read a thought-provoking article about the mortgage industry, consider using some of the tactics above to re-engage your customer base and start increasing your business opportunities.

Sound off! What are your thoughts about this as an industry professional? Let me know in the comments.

Ben Smidt, MA

Ben Smidt - MGIC Digital Strategy Manager

Ben Smidt serves as MGIC’s Digital Strategy Manager. He leads corporate development and management of MGIC's digital marketing strategy across the enterprise. This includes establishing a clear vision for all digital marketing initiatives and providing strategic direction for the company's digital and social media marketing efforts. His primary goal is to increase brand awareness and improve user experience (UX). Additional responsibilities include PPC budget strategy and management of ad spend.

In addition to the insurance industry, Ben has a combined 10 years of experience in computer software, education and publishing industries. His focus has always remained in the area of education and digital marketing for media and technology.

He holds an MA from Marquette University in media channel effectiveness and digital communications, as well as a BS from UW-Madison focused in communications. He resides with his wife, daughter and son in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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