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Oil and Water – Compliance & [Insert Other Department Here]

I apologize, but today you will not be getting one of my insightful gems about compliance. Today I am in more of an airing of grievances (Festivous for the rest of us!) type of mood. There was one thing that annoyed me the most when I was an in-house compliance officer, and it is something that I still see today working with credit unions. It is this perception that the compliance group is the fun police. That compliance is the inefficient cog in the series of cogs that makes the credit union work. That compliance and operations (insert any other department) are like oil and water. Lucky for you I am in a sharing mood today so you get to hear my take on this nonsense.

Sorry folks, compliance is here to stay. Even if the folks in Washington are able to ease up these gaudy regulations, they are not going to be scrapping the whole rule book. Rules are rules, and at the end of the day if you don’t follow those rules you won’t be able to stick around and play with your friends. I also love this perception that compliance is lower on the totem pole because it is not an income generator, and there is a point there to be made. But think about this, if compliance wasn’t there you would be walking out of your exit exam interviews feeling like you just got robbed by the examiner as they walk away with your penalty check. You’re welcome.

Now this is not say that compliance folks don’t have their own perception issues that they need to work on. No, your lending staff is not trying to give you a heart attack. No, your marketing staff is not trying to make your life harder. They too have jobs that need to get done. Compliance might affect what they do, but they weren’t hired for compliance, you were. They were hired to create business and to ensure the member’s financial needs are being met.

So it is time for everyone to put down their gloves and start getting to know each other. For those not in compliance, you need to take some time to understand why these rules are in place. I am not saying you need to be experts, but having a basic understanding will allow you to have more open conversations with your compliance staff. For those of you in compliance, you need to spend a day in their shoes. Take the time to understand the process and job functions. From that understanding you can then make compliance more efficient for those that have to execute the day to day work. You can ramble on about legal jargon all day, but that jargon doesn’t help your fulfillment department process the loan. So translate it for them. That way you can find ways to make it work within the process, and if you can’t find a solution, you are at least able to start having conversations on how you can make it work. It is ultimately about making compliance efficient and effective.

There will always be some give and take at the end of the day. But it will be a lot easier if you take the time to see the view from the other side. It makes the giving and the taking a whole lot easier.

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