Official Advertising Statement (FDIC)

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently reissued its Request for Information regarding its Official Sign and Advertising Requirements and Potential Technological Solutions. The reissue now also addresses the misuse of the FDIC Official Sign and logo, which was not included in the original request.

As a recap, on February 26, 2020, the FDIC published a notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 10997) asking for input regarding the advertising rules regarding the use of its Official Sign and Official Advertising Statement. Then, COVID hit and the request was put on hiatus. The FDIC is now reopening its Request. The Request has 17 questions regarding the required use of the Official Sign in branches and electronically, use of the Official Advertising Statement in advertisements, and the use, and misuse, of the Official Sign and Advertising Statement in apps and websites. The comment period is open until May 24, 2021.

We often get questions regarding the use of the Official Advertising Statement and we have summarized the rules in the form of questions and answers-
What is an advertisement? The FDIC defines an advertisement as “a commercial message, in any medium, that is designed to attract public attention or patronage to a product or business.”

What is the Official Advertising Statement? The FDIC’s Official Advertising Statement is either “Member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,” “Member of FDIC,” “Member FDIC,” or a legible reproduction of the FDIC’s official sign.

When Do I need to include the Official Advertising Statement? Insured banks, with some exceptions, must include the Official Advertising Statement in all advertisements that either promote deposit products and services or promote non-specific banking products or services offered by the institution. An advertisement promotes non-specific banking products and services if it includes the name of the insured institution but does not list or describe particular products or services offered by the bank. An example of such an advertisement would be, “Anytown Bank, offering a full range of banking services.

What are the exceptions? The FDIC provides a list of exceptions that do not require the Official Advertising Statement. These exceptions include advertisements such as radio ads that do not exceed 30 seconds, promotional items such as calendars, matchbooks, pens, and keychains.

When can’t I use the Official Advertising Statement? The FDIC prohibits use of the Official Advertising Statement when advertising non-deposit products, such as insurance products or annuities.

Is this all I need to know? No! The questions and answers are just a brief coverage of the requirements and restrictions. Institutions should review the appropriate rules for full requirements, restrictions, and exceptions, and contact us if you have questions.

Law-Related Services Disclosure.  Please be advised that CSG provides financial services compliance audit and consulting services to our clients.  The services that we provide include certain tasks that may be characterized as “law-related services” under Rule 5.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers.  Since some of our employees are lawyers with an active bar license but are NOT engaged in the private practice of law, that Rule requires us to make disclosures clarifying that the services we perform may be law-related services, but they are not legal services.  Because they are not legal services, those services and our relationship will not be governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct that guide the client-lawyer relationship, such as rules applicable to privileged communications and prohibitions of conflicts of interest.  Notwithstanding this disclaimer, we will continue to govern our relationship with you using reasonable ethical and professional standards that are expected to meet your expectations.

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