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Situation

A consumer-facing institution came under deep scrutiny from a state regulator concerned about its business and marketing practices. An application to renew its license to operate was denied pending further review and hearings. Making matters worse, the regulatory body called for the organization to be closed and monies returned to customers if it failed to address the concerns in a satisfactory manner.

The organization’s staff and customers were becoming deeply concerned about its future. The parent company itself was coming under attack from shareholders, the SEC and other federal bodies with regulatory authority in the sector. On the legal front, the institution was sued in a class action case. It also decided to execute an aggressive legal strategy and sued the regulator.

The communications response had been limited, and key stakeholders were demanding to know what was being done to address the problems and get the organization back on track. The local news media was particularly critical, and successive waves of negative news about the parent company entrenched negative perceptions. The case against the regulator was legally complex and difficult for stakeholders to understand.

Solution

Montieth & Company recognized that it had to create communication channels with key stakeholders quickly to help them understand the situation and what the institution was doing to address it. We set up a rapid response team on site and worked directly with management to create messaging for stakeholders.

At the same time, we created a larger strategy to advance a broader understanding of the client’s legal position. We built a regulatory affairs strategy and provided the CEO and his team with special training on managing in a crisis situation.

Results

Employee morale and customer loyalty improved. On the legal front, the client’s case succeeded, and the press brought more balance into its coverage. Ultimately, the client prevailed in its suit against the regulator.

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