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Elvis and the Lending Regs

by Lois Kohn

Lois Kohn reports: I did an Elvis compliance program once. For each loan regulation, I had a different poster of Elvis and mentioned something about a movie or song from that year and what happened that year in Compliance - - like the passing of the Fair Housing Act and what responsibilities the lenders have under Fair Housing. I'm not an Elvis fan, so I went to the library and found a book with the information I needed. The book had some pictures that I copied, enlarged and colored.

I lent the program and posters to a friend of mine who was compliance officer at another bank, so she could use it to train her loan officers. She added some Elvis music to the program. The only one I remember is when she discussed penalties to RESPA she played "Jail House Blues".

Editor's Note: Showing the evolution of the lending regulations can help make them more memorable, especially if you put them in perspective like this and use historical information to remind attendees what was going on in the country when these laws were passed. With the Internet, it's even easier than ever to gather factoids from particular dates in history. If you use songs and you can figure out something about the song other than the date to also tie in with the law, so much the better.

To help you get started:

This was the year the National Flood Insurance Program was started. Among the top songs that year were:

  • The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding --wouldn't that be a fitting song when you're talking about water-related compliance?
  • Hey Jude by Beatles
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye
  • Love Is Blue by Paul Mauriat
  • Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
  • People Got to Be Free by Rascals
  • This Guy's In Love with You by Herb Alpert
  • Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel
  • Love Child by Diana Ross & the Supremes
  • Tighten Up by Archie Bell & the Drells

1968 was also the year the Truth in Lending Act was enacted. Perhaps People Got to Be Free would be a good tune for getting across the point that Congress wanted customers to be free to easily comparison shop for credit.

The Fair Housing Act was also enacted in the same year. You could use I Heard It Through the Grapevine to talk about how Congress was told, in testimony, about discrimination in the housing industry by sellers, lessors, and lenders and how that led to the passage of the Act.

1974 was the year the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was enacted (although I think it actually went into effect in 1975, as noted by Richard Insley last October in his Banker's Threads post about its silver anniversary). Hit songs in 1974 included:

  • Billy, Don't Be a Hero by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods
  • Seasons In the Sun by Terry Jacks
  • Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas
  • The Loco-Motion by Grand Funk
  • The Streak by Ray Stevens
  • The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand
  • TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) by MFSB with the Three Degrees
  • Having My Baby by Paul Anka
  • Annie's Song by John Denver

A great song to use for ECOA would be The Way We Were. You could talk about "the way we were" to refer to the lending industry prior to ECOA and how it wasn't pretty. Married women were considered little more than a possession of their husband's and were often denied the right to independently apply for credit. Women of childbearing years were interrogated about their plans for having children. Individuals of certain races, national origins, and religions were discouraged from even applying for loans.

There's lots more date-related information readily retrievable over the Internet. Our favorite source is the dMarie Time Capsule. Type in any date during a given year and click the "Quick" button for a full report. It shows you things like the prices that year -- Bread: $0.28/loaf; Milk: $1.39/gal; Eggs: $1.24/doz; Car: $4,440; Gas: $0.53/gal. It also shows the average income, minimum wage, what the DOW was, and much more.

This type of historical perspective could be done with any typing of training, from acquainting your employees with the grand history of your institution to all types of compliance training. Have fun!

Lois Kohn
Lois Kohn has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Samford University and is a Graduate of the ABA National Compliance School. She has 30 years in the banking industry, 20 as Compliance Officer for Colonial Bank (Birmingham, Alabama). Lois has conducted frequent banking seminars for bank employees and others, and was named Outstanding Instructor for the Birmingham A.I.B. Chapter (1998). In June, 2000, she moved to Dallas, Texas where she is currently Corporate Compliance Specialist with Colonial Bank.

First published on 8/27/01

First published on 08/27/2001

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