New Compliance Officer Role

by Kristin Johnstone

It is a typical Monday morning and you have arrived at your job at the neighborhood bank. You begin getting ready for your day when you are suddenly called into the president’s office. What is this about? Should I be worried, excited, or apprehensive? You enter the office and the president is there with your immediate supervisor. Oh no, what’s going on? You hesitantly take a seat and the president proceeds to tell you that management has been discussing your outstanding performance and willingness to take on more and more duties. He goes on to say that in light of your commitment and dedication, they have decided to turn over the duties of and appoint you as the bank’s compliance officer. “Congratulations!” they both say. You discuss the duties in more detail, thank them for the opportunity, and leave the president’s office.


Wait…what? Panic begins to seep through the initial excitement. What do you know about being a bank compliance officer? That is where we, at Vala Secure, can help!


As you take on your new role, start by reviewing the most recent regulatory examination reports and audit reports, both external and internal. This is the quickest way to identify any problem areas. You will need to pay particular attention to any violations or items discussed within the report that suggest the possibility of potential violations if not addressed going forward. In addition to this, you will want to look through notes taken by coworkers or former coworkers of items that were discussed during exit meetings that may or may not have made it into the final report or reports. Based on what you discover, you will then want to review any action that has been taken to correct any deficiencies identified within the exams and audits conducted.


Secondly, you will need to review audit and/or monitoring schedules, training schedules, and scheduled compliance reports being presented to the Board of Directors to ensure that the schedules and reports are comprehensive, timely and cover all required information.


Third, you will need to get access to all bank approved policies and procedures to ensure that they are up to date with all regulatory changes and are approved by the Board within the past twelve months.


If a Compliance Committee has not yet been formed, you will need to establish one. Include representatives from each department, assign areas of responsibility, and obtain Board approval of the Compliance Committee. Compliance Committee meetings should be set at least quarterly, and more often if greater areas of compliance concerns are present. Then reports/minutes of the Compliance Committee meetings should be presented to the Board of Directors.


Depending upon whether or not your organization has an Internal Auditor, you may also need to establish an internal monitoring schedule to cover higher risk areas. The results of your reviews will need to be included in your reports to the Compliance Committee and ultimately to the Board.


As you take on your new role, take a deep breath, follow the above suggestions to get your bearings, and do not hesitate to reach out to Vala Secure if we can assist you in your new role with our Virtual Compliance offering.