Having an efficient compliance management system (CMS) allows credit unions to spend more time focusing on growth and enhancing member services, says Jeremy Smith, compliance manager for PolicyWorks.
“Compliance is often seen as a burden or cost center,” he says, “but it doesn't have to be that way if a credit union takes the time to establish a robust CMS.”
A robust CMS has seven main components, Smith says:
Examiners have certain expectations for these systems.
“The biggest thing examiners expect is an overall commitment to the credit union's CMS,” Smith says. “Ultimately, they want to see that the credit union takes its compliance responsibilities seriously. This starts with the tone and expectations that the board sets when it comes to compliance, and it trickles down from there.”
These systems won’t look the same for all credit unions. The credit union’s needs, size, and complexity play a big role in determining an institution’s CMS.
“Just because XYZ Credit Union has a fancy tracking system does not mean that your credit union also needs to have that system,” Smith says. “Evaluate what will work best for you. Don’t over-analyze a situation just because you have seen other credit unions do it a certain way.”
When operating at peak efficiency, the ideal CMS will look like any other process the credit union has been doing for years, he adds.
“Team members don't even realize that they are completing a CMS process once everything has been properly implemented,” Smith says. “The result ends up being clean exams year after year, with continued growth and membership enhancements.”
The latter issue is particularly relevant today. As the competitive landscape continues to evolve, credit unions are finding different ways to enhance the member experience.
“Like most everything we do, these enhancements have some sort of compliance impact,” Smith says, adding that a key role for him is helping credit unions balance growth and compliance.
“As credit unions look to find different ways to engage their members, it is important that they have a partner that can help them through the compliance maze.”
Smith is a speaker at the CUNA Compliance Management System Webinar Series.