Universal 1 Credit Union in Dayton, Ohio, received a CUNA Compliance Impact Award Grand Winner for credit unions with $101 million to $500 million in assets.
Lisa Schaefer, assistant vice president of compliance for the $404 million asset credit union, spoke with Credit Union Magazine about her approach to compliance.
The award recognizes outstanding achievements in credit union compliance management by individuals and credit unions.
Q: How have your efforts minimized or eliminated reputational, financial, or operational loss?
A: Universal 1 implemented a web-based Compliance Help Desk to provide a central location for employees to ask questions, request research, or submit documents for review.
The help desk stores all follow-up communications and supporting documentation, which employees can access.
To minimize operational loss, the Compliance Help Desk uses a ticketing system to streamline the questions that come to the compliance department, and it reduces duplicative research efforts.
Q: Why is it important for your CU to avoid reputational risk?
A: Reputational risk is public. Universal 1’s motto is “Beyond What You Expected.” We believe that is true in all aspects of our credit union.
Our procedures and disclosures need to be compliant, because if they fall short, we are not fulfilling our motto and are failing our membership.
Q: How does your CU ensure consistency when it comes to compliance?
A: Universal 1 is fortunate to have a dedicated compliance department.
Policies, procedures, disclosures, marketing pieces, new product or service ideas are all sent to the compliance department for a compliance review before being finalized.
Q: What’s the biggest compliance issue you see arising in the next few years?
A: Staying ahead of the curve. You need to make sure you’re reading forecasts for the industry—not just what is happening now—so you’re not caught off guard.
Q: How does your CU avoid making mistakes you’ve seen other institutions make?
A: Universal 1 takes a proactive approach to compliance.
We read through the material, develop action items, and meet with management to discuss the impact on the credit union. Also, we do not wait and start the internal review process early. These steps allow time to clarify operational questions and ensure compliance by the effective date.
Being proactive and staying ahead is imperative in today’s regulatory environment.