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Are You Providing Enough Support to Your Compliance Officer?

Are You Providing Enough Support to Your Compliance Officer?

Compliance Corner

By Cheryl Lawson, EVP, Compliance Review

I get by with a little help from my friends.”


Even The Beatles knew it takes a village to maintain compliance across an entire financial institution!


All kidding aside, even banks and credit unions that have a dedicated compliance officer must rely on the knowledge and expertise of third-party vendors to remain compliant in all areas. That’s doubly true right now, with everything happening with the COVID-19 crisis. It’s up to the management team to provide their compliance people the support they need to be able to do their job thoroughly.



I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a CEO, who told me, “We don’t need to hire an outside consultant to monitor and manage our overdraft program—we’re hiring a great compliance officer with previous experience in overdraft compliance.”


I asked him, “When did that experience occur? Because what you could do in 2011 in-house when Regulation E went into effect is much different than what you can do today. Everyone had help in 2011.”


And it’s true.


Fast forward to when I actually met the aforementioned compliance officer. She told me it was a relief to have a third-party vendor assist with overdraft program compliance.


This is the disconnect that often occurs between management trying to show confidence in its compliance officers’ capabilities and the reality that there’s just too much for one person (or one small team) to keep up with.


Staying abreast of the latest governance and interpretations on everything from deposits and lending, to attending conferences, reviewing briefs and reporting changes adds up quickly. Year over year there continues to be a flood of new regulationsalong with greater complexitieswhich adds an insurmountable amount of pressure and increased responsibilities.


You have to build an industrial-scale operation just to digest all the regulatory changes,” HSBC’s chief compliance officer Colin Bell said. No matter the size of your financial institution and the scale of your operations, it’s a lot to keep up with—especially amid all the changes brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

Another risk comes when you can’t keep up with issues because you simply don’t know they’re happening. Over the past few years we have continued to see a rise in litigation, and many cases never even make it to court. If you’re not aware of what is happening in the industry, it’s that much harder to protect yourself.


Indeed, there is a ceiling of competence for everything, and management must be mindful of this fact. Given the limited hours in a day, plus curveballs like the novel coronavirus, nobody can stay on top of everything. To assume even the most proficient compliance person has the time to be well-versed and up to date on so many issues is really a disservice to them as well as your financial institution.



The reality is, most compliance officers would welcome some help when it comes to having compliance certainty in a specific area, to complement their own knowledge and free up their time to focus on other areas.

Depending on knowledgeable vendors supplements the hard work and expertise of your compliance team.

Overdraft compliance knowledge, like other areas, can be seasonal. Your bank or credit union may have a really good Regulation E process at one point in time, but when priorities and objectives shift, you can lose focus and violations may occur.

Outside expertise helps fill in knowledge gaps and provides:

  • A long-term partnership dedicated to your overdraft program’s success
  • Ongoing monitoring and maintenance to optimize program performance while avoiding compliance scrutiny
  • Uniform processes, industry best practices and account holder communication materials
  • Staff training to ensure consistent and confident communication with account holders

Hot-button issues in our industry change. Regardless of seasonal cycles or current events, make sure your overdraft program is compliant. Because JMFA is laser-focused on running fully transparent, compliant overdraft programs, we have one agenda and can remain well-versed in this particular area of regulations.

And that is weight off your compliance department’s shoulders so they can focus on the myriad other issues they face on a daily basis.


JMFA is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Whether it’s recovering lost revenue, uncovering new savings with vendor contract negotiations, creating more value, serving account holders better or delivering a 100% compliant overdraft service—JMFA can help you deliver measurable results with proven solutions. To learn more, please contact your local representative or call us at (800) 809-2307.


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