3 Key Compliance Management Trends for Community Banks

by Brad Garland

Community banks can improve their compliance management processes in three simple ways. Begin by reviewing and strengthening existing corporate compliance program policies. Then move on to building a culture of compliance within your organization. These tasks will require some effort from managers and board members, but don't cost very much money. Compliance management tools are the one component that can require an outlay of funds, but the cost is minimal when compared with alternatives that are prone to errors and difficulties.


1. Creation or strengthening of a corporate compliance program

It is very important for banks to have consistent enterprise-wide compliance processes in all areas of the company. To ensure your bank has a good corporate compliance program, go through each area of your regulatory compliance structure. This includes procedures, policies, reporting, monitoring, and assessment. Checking that each of these areas has consistent processes in place can not only help your bank avoid enforcement actions, it can also correct weaknesses and reduce risk before it becomes an enforcement issue.

While enterprise-wide compliance software can be very helpful, it's important to begin by identifying potential problems in order to determine the best solution for your company or enterprise as a whole. You will need to consider time, experience, perspective, and budget constraints, as well as adequate staffing and current job expectations. Your people are key.

It's very common for enterprises using compliance software to bring in external experts to manage the system or provide additional information. Typically, a person inside your company will not have the time, resources, and information that an external consultant can bring to the program.


2. Fostering a "culture" of compliance

It's important to get away from the “project” mentality that most banks and other companies bring to corporate compliance programs. Instead, a "culture" of compliance helps to move away from the one-off mentality that goes with projects and toward an ongoing process view of compliance. 

The landscape is shifting toward a focus on higher security and compliance regulations. This makes it clear that banks must be prepared to provide tight compliance at any time. Rather than implementing compliance tasks in an inconsistent and reactive manner, there needs to be a shift toward uniform processes and more well-rounded policies.

The board of directors at your bank must have compliance management at the forefront of their policies in order to signal their importance to employees. Additionally, you must reward employees for staying on top of compliance goals. The whole organization needs to continually look for areas to improve.


3. Simple compliance management solutions

It might become harder for banks to manage regulatory compliance manually with the changing regulatory landscape. Having lots of paper and humans involved in the process leaves the possibility for many errors and difficulties. Moving toward an outsourced compliance management process can alleviate these problems.

Using a compliance management regulatory expert (offered by Garland Heart) or an outside security consultant, employees won't have to learn multiple programs. This will benefit your bank in terms of saved training costs and risks associated with errors.

It is very important to keep the process simple. An automated system can sometimes make it even more complicated when multiple programs are used and required to interface with each other. If you need any help selecting the right compliance management support for your bank, we can help