After the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act as a direct result of the financial crisis of 2008, the emphasis of understanding and communicating of regulatory requirements with customers has only increased. While, in many cases, the underlying requirements have been on the books, unchanged for even 50 years, the marketplace where these laws and regulations are applied has changed. Instead of appealing strictly to a local or national audience in a single language, more financial institutions are attempting to appeal to a global audience in multiple languages.
Among the most important US banking regulations that need to be correctly communicated to consumers are the following:
- Regulation DD. As part of the Truth in Savings Act of 1991, this regulation requires uniformity of information about fees and interest rates when opening an account. From advertising to legal obligations and basic account disclosures, the point of this regulation is to provide clear and understandable account information to individuals for most banking accounts, such as savings/checking accounts, CDs, and accounts denominated in a foreign currency.
- UDAAP. Directly dealing with Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices, this Dodd-Frank regulation seeks to protect consumers from deceptive practices that are deemed unavoidably unfair. Presenting a baseline where consumers have access to information and only need reasonable measures to determine which product best suits them, this broad regulation seeks open access to information for consumers without having to take impractical or expensive steps to understand financial transactions.
- Regulation E. Issued by the Federal Reserve, Regulation E seeks to establish rules and procedures for electronic funds transfers. Covering everything from the issuance of debit cards and ATM usage to mobile payment systems and Near-Field Communication (for purchases), this regulation provides the foundation for how electronic fund transactions occur and also requires that consumers and financial institutions know their responsibilities when an error occurs, such as how long a consumer has to report an EFT error and the proper procedure as well as time limit for the bank to investigate and process the claim.
- Regulation Z. Though updated several times, Regulation Z originated in the Truth in Lending Act of 1968. Specifically, Regulation Z deals with with lenders, requiring openness regarding information involved in the issuing of credit, such as financing charges, interest rates, and any changes in information during the repayment period of the loan, such as notices of term changes or lender/holder changes. Additionally, this regulation prohibits lenders and brokers from deliberately steering consumer toward unfavourable terms (like a predecessor to UDAAP).
- State Law. Along with federal regulations, there are also individual state regulations for the protection of consumers which financial institutions need to address. For example, in California, a number of financial transactions are subject to a “cooling off” period, which allows for the signator to cancel the contract within a certain period of time. To handle the complaints of financial contracts/information being written in “legalese”, some states, like Florida and (the corporate tax haven) Delaware, require that contracts be written to “reasonably readable levels” in a further step to ensure that consumers fully understand what they’re signing.
Considering the number of requirements placed on financial institutions, compliance is a very big concern, especially when it comes to dealing with consumers whose primary language isn’t the bank’s primary language. Regardless of the individual consumer’s level of understanding, the liability to provide the necessary regulatory information is still on the bank. Risking incurring penalties for not providing information, banks need to carefully practice due diligence when choosing a Language Service Provider for their translation requirements. Beyond just translating documents, does the translation firm have the legal and financial expertise to meet the regulatory requirements by presenting the necessary information to clients?
As a preferred language service provider for compliance translations in the United States as well as in Europe, EVS Translations has been providing compliance translations to listed companies – including banks, credit card companies, audit companies and other players in the financial sector – for more than 25 years. Through the integration of translation management software for greater efficiency, the introduction of a project management platform for reduced administrative effort, and by establishing a firm basis for ISO-certified quality control and continuous technology innovation, EVS Translations makes compliance translations smarter for you.