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Charters/Policies on Bank’s Website

Can you please tell me what charters/policies are required to be disclosed on our website? Also, does our Whistle Blower Policy need to be included on our website?

Answer by Andy Zavoina:In that there is no requirement to have a website, there are few requirements imposed when you have one, that do not apply otherwise. That is, if you advertise loans or deposits, the advertisements must be correct just as though they were on paper.

There is one unique issue with websites and that includes links. You can link to disclosures, and if you link outside your own site, regulators "recommend" a speedbump. This is one of those "You are leaving our site and the privacy policy of this new site may differ from ours. We are not responsible for the content on this site, etc..."

Your privacy policy doesn't have to be there. Providing it here, and having a customer agree to delivery this way, may save you from mailing an annual copy, and I recommend posting many of the disclosures that are on your Fed Wall, HMDA, Reg CC and the like, but they aren't required, as the website isn't a branch by definition.

Certainly there are more issues unique to websites, but as to required disclosures, under federal laws, it is pretty simple: there aren't any. State laws may impose some requirements.


Answer by Jim Bedsole:There may be certain requirements. For example, I know that NASDAQ requires listed companies to have a code of conduct applicable to directors, officers, and employees, and that code of conduct must be publicly available. Sarbanes-Oxley has a similar provision requiring a code of ethics and SEC regulations implement that. There may be other corporate governance documents that should be publicly available as well, such as your audit committee charter, corporate governance standards, etc. The corporate website is a good place to make these available.

Also, if your company has received TARP assistance, the new TARP Standards for Executive Compensation and Governance require adoption of a "Luxury and Excessive Expenditures Policy" meeting specific requirements by the later of 90 days after receiving assistance or September 15, 2009. These rules specifically state that if the company maintains a website, this policy must be included on the website. There may be other requirements. You should probably consult with your corporate legal counsel regarding them.

First published on 8/17/09

First published on 08/17/2009

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