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ATLANTA — Christopher Brown made it known early that he is familiar with credit unions.“I belong to a bank and because I work for a bank regulator, you may be wondering. Yes, I am a member of a credit union, too,” said Brown, senior vice president and chief financial officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, who pulled out his credit union membership card for all to see at the NCUA Risk Mitigation Summit.Brown is responsible for portions of the corporate services divisions, including financial management and planning, financial statistics and structural analysis, and facilities management functions. His career with the Federal Reserves dates back to 1973 when he served as a bank examiner.Brown said the regulator’s enterprise risk management program has been in place for five years and encompasses a number of areas. The Fed’s approach to ERM keeps in mind that management ultimately owns the risks and rising above silos helps to gain different perspectives, he explained as he talked about strategic, operational, credit and market risks. The latter two, he acknowledged, were not at the top of the Fed’s priority less a year ago. “It’s fair to say they have moved up on the list.” Above all, “reputation risk is the hardest to quantify” because it’s “hard to measure and hard to get your arms around it,” Brown said. It’s probably among the most critical to monitor because it “keeps you in business,” he added.The emergence of mobile and Internet payments led to the Fed forming the retail payment risk forum in 2008. The forum is designed to bring together expertise residing within the Federal Reserve, financial institutions, other industry participants, regulators and law enforcement. The forum facilitates collaboration among these diverse parties, all of whom share common interests in improved detection and mitigation of emerging risks and fraud in retail payments systems.“Risk is opportunity. Your risk tolerance allows you to take advantage of those opportunities,” he said.–msamaad@cutimes.com

Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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