July 17, 2015 10:38 am

Author: Cody Roberts

Computer screen with a checklist on it

As a former compliance officer in the mid-1990s, I remember an older banker telling me it used to be “fun” to be a banker. However, “fun” came to an end when a wave of new laws and regulations prompted the creation of my position.

Now, the pace of change is even greater. New guidance, interpretations and rulings come out every day. Senior management and board members are increasingly frustrated. Loan officers still don’t follow basic compliance (some things never change). However, some things have actually made compliance officers’ jobs easier. Below are the top five I’ve seen over the last 20 years:

5. Industry Certification Groups

The ABA’s Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB), Bank Administration Institute (BAI), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and others have formed certification groups for compliance professionals. As a result, industry education levels have risen and credentials have become more uniform.

4. Webinars

Since training is a requirement of any compliance program, webinars have become a cost-effective way to educate large numbers of geographically dispersed employees.

3. Software and Automated Tools

With the increase in the vast volumes of information and transactions that must be monitored, measured, reported, and acted on, software and other automated tools have become indispensable. From Microsoft Office (Anyone else remember WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3?) to sophisticated AI-based AML/fraud transaction tracking to risk management, we have come a long way.

2. Increased Status and Prestige in Banking

Compliance was once the job nobody wanted. Now it is the job every bank must fill—and qualified candidates are typically in short supply. As a result, the status and prestige of the compliance officer have increased greatly–if not always with a commensurate increase in compensation.

1. Internet and the Specialized Sites Like BOL, ABA, Supervisory Agencies

The single biggest thing to help the compliance officer is without question the Internet and all the ancillary services it has made possible. Online research has dramatically cut the time and frustration of determining the impact of a rule change. The appearance of specialized websites like BankersOnline (BOL), industry group sites such as the ABA, as well as information on supervisory agencies’ sites has allowed a quick dispersion of news and information. Coupled with email and blogs, compliance professionals now have more information to make better decisions than ever before.

Notice anything missing? Send us your suggestions for your Top 5 Items that Made Compliance Officers’ Jobs Easier to croberts@abs-ok.com. Stay tuned to the compliance blog for the results!