With the rapid changes in the regulatory environment, one lending expert reminded credit unions to be gentle with their compliance officers.
“Your compliance person isn’t the most loved person in the organization so it’s important that they report at a certain level and not be subject to influence by business areas of the credit union,” said Bill Klewin, lending compliance leader at CUNA Mutual Group, speaking at the CUNA Lending Council’s annual conference Tuesday in New Orleans.
The regulations, coupled with the effect of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will impact all areas of a credit union’s operation, including debit and credit cards, home equity and consumer loans, tellers, mortgage loans, human resources, compensation plans and auditing, to name a few, Klewin said.
A key to making the compliance position effective is finding a quality staffer capable of handling complicated compliance issues, Klewin suggested.
“You can build, buy or rent for this important position. One, you can take someone from within your organization and give them the training and tools to be good at it, or you can go out and buy someone with a proven track record of compliance expertise, but that can be expensive,” he said, adding another alternative is to outsource some of the work, like the credit union’s documents business.
Klewin said it isn’t clear yet what approach the CFPB will take but it appears the agency is data driven. He encouraged credit unions to make use of the comment period process to speak out on any proposed rules.
“They may take a disclosure or change in a rule and take it to the people affected to determine a course,” Klewin said. “It’s a remarkably different approach and the old way of doing disclosures may go right out the window. It may make sense but it would be very foreign to how credit unions and regulators are accustomed to operating.”