Implications of Foreign Language Advertising
Pry, Carl G., ABA Bank Marketing
MANY BANKS OPERATE IN AREAS WITH SIGNIFICANT POPULATIONS WHERE ENGLISH IS A SECOND LANGUAGE. Most think of Hispanics when this topic comes up, but there are banks with significant populations of customers who speak Mandarin, Korean, French, Tagalog, Vietnamese or any one of a number of Native American languages. In a desire to attract prospects and to relate to existing customers, some banks choose to run parallel advertisements in multiple languages, and others choose to run separate advertisements in these foreign languages. Is there a risk when doing this? What are the compliance requirements?
You may be surprised to learn there really aren't any. That's not to say there aren't any legal or compliance-related concerns, or any risks, though. These concerns are generally divided into two categories: (1) Should you advertise in foreign languages?; and (2) What happens when you do?
There is no regulatory mandate or requirement to advertise in any particular language even if a bank's primary customer base is non-English speaking. It is purely up to a bank whether or not to do so. Many banks consider foreign-language advertising to be good business, particularly in areas where English is spoken rarely if at all. It is a way to attract a customer base that is otherwise inaccessible. In addition, reaching out to such customers might qualify for credit under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Large banks' CRA ratings include evaluations under the Services Test and creative and innovative ways of serving a bank's customers deserves recognition.
There may be UDAP implications
There are legitimate concerns and risks when banks choose to advertise in foreign languages, however. …