This week I think I will hold off on the 80s and 90s pop culture references and overall nostalgia and relate a common thread that most compliance folks may relate too. I am new to the parenting game and the role as father to my son. He is a wonderful child and my wife and I have been very happy and blessed to have him in our lives. He really can put a smile on your face any time. He will also give you a run for your money as well.
I find myself trying to keep up with our loving bundle of energy. He is always on the go and always active. When he is on the move, he may try to go anywhere or try to get into anything. I find myself constantly trying to keep a watchful eye on him. Part of keeping that eye on him, is having to correct him, teach him, or sometimes having to just say “no.” My son doesn’t always agree with me trying to keep him out of every cabinet and drawer in the house. He may cry or get very upset, and I must admit sometimes that can make me feel like the bad guy.
Why do I relate this story of learning to be a parent? Well I hear from many compliance folks that they sometimes feel like the bad guy. You are having to say “no,” to keep an eye out for compliance issues, and sometimes you may have to train or teach staff to ensure they are following the regulatory requirements. Does that make you the parent of your credit union? It may feel like that some days, but in reality, you are playing the role of protector.
I try very hard to protect my son. Part of protecting him is ensuring he doesn’t get hurt by crawling upstairs unattended. I have to tell him “no, you can’t go up there without me.” He may not like it and he may be upset, but I am ultimately trying to protect him from falling down the stairs and potentially getting hurt and having, as he calls it, an “ahhh-wee.”
Isn’t that what we are trying to do in our roles as compliance staff? Aren’t we trying to protect our credit union from getting an “ahhh-wee?” Our staff may not like it and they may get upset, but I don’t think any of us are trying to be the bad guy. We are the ones who may have to say “no” when a new marketing idea or product idea may not work because of compliance issues. We are the ones that may find compliance issues or errors and must help correct those errors by making staff aware, and by providing helpful training to correct the error. So many times these things happen, and I hear from a lot of you that you can be viewed as the “bad guy” or you are seen as the “fun haters,” or the “fun police.” Based on some compliance events I have been too, I think I can say that compliance people are good people and do like to have fun. Staff need to understand we are trying to save our credit union from getting hurt. In turn that means ensuring our member’s assets are protected.
With this blog today, I wanted to let you know that you are not the “bad guy.” Like my role as father to my son, I am not trying to make him cry or prevent him from having fun. When I tell him he is doing something wrong and I correct him, or I stop him from doing something, I am trying to protect him and watch over him. I know that is what you are all trying to do as compliance staff for your credit unions. We are trying to protect our member’s assets by doing the best we can to ensure that our credit union doesn’t get fined by examiners or the credit union or staff don’t get slapped with a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
It’s tough to play the role, but like parents, we accept it and understand the good we do by having to be in that role. You are the protectors at your credit union! Take pride in that and know you are a part of helping not only your credit union and your staff, but you are also helping your members. That is why I am delighted to tell folks that I am a happy to be a father and happy to be a part of the compliance community.