Matt Bailey, director of compliance at $419 million asset Linn Area Credit Union in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, recently won CUNA’s Compliance Champion Award.
A member of CUNA’s Compliance Education Advisory Board, Linn speaks about his transition from mortgage lending to compliance, and the challenge of creating a strong compliance culture.
CU Mag: What does being named Compliance Champion mean to you?
Bailey: It’s a little exciting, but a little embarrassing at the same time. It’s like being celebrated for being a big nerd!
Compliance people in general aren’t fans of the spotlight, but I certainly do appreciate the honor and recognition.
CU Mag: What drew you into compliance from your previous role as a mortgage loan processor?
Bailey: The challenge was the biggest draw. It was a new position for my credit union, preparing us for the Dodd-Frank Act and a whole new world.
I thrive in a challenging environment where I’m regularly learning new skills.
CU Mag: How do you move your CU toward a true commitment to compliance?
Bailey: I’d love to say it was easy, or that it involved a crowbar, but neither is true. It takes effort and requires the building of relationships across the ranks.
It can’t be mandated; it has to be agreed to. Compliance has an “iron fist” reputation, but collaboration is key.
CU Mag: As a strong proponent of compliance training, what are the key points that make training great?
Anyone can provide a bulleted list of facts. Great training requires relevance, putting everything in context, and getting people involved.
Providing a citation and quoting regulation doesn’t help anyone think about what procedures or policies they are going to need to change or create.
CU Mag: What’s the best advice you’ve received or given regarding compliance?
Bailey: Don’t try to know it all—you can’t. Compliance isn’t a set of books you can just memorize and be set for life; it changes almost daily.
Focus on learning how to find the answer and you’ll get through.
CU Mag: Which regulation or subject area would you most like to see overhauled?
Bailey: Definitely Regulation E [Electronic Fund Transfers]—specifically, how card fraud plays out. As the problem continues to grow, the hit we take monthly in losses has become much more than just an annoyance.
Additional mitigation efforts and a more equitable division of the losses between us and the retail sector would be helpful for everyone.
CU Mag: What topic should compliance professionals place squarely on their radar for 2018?
Bailey: The new Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting changes require the most attention. There are so many moving parts and people who need to work together on this one that it’s going to be an undertaking, for sure.
The last thing I want to do in 2019 is scramble to correct a year’s worth of loan files.
CU Mag: What’s the most inspiring thing about showing up for work at Linn Area CU every day?
Bailey: Being part of making people’s lives better. Compliance isn’t exactly front and center in the member service arsenal, but focusing on why I’m there reminds me that it’s for them.
Being a resource to make sure we’re doing the right things for the right reasons is what drives me. (It’s just a rumor that I like to say “no” a lot.)
► Keep current with Bank Secrecy Act changes by attending the CUNA Bank Secrecy Act Conference Nov. 12-15 in Las Vegas