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Most people groan when they think about credit union compliance, but not Amy Kleinschmit. As chief compliance officer for the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas, Kleinschmit works with the credit unions in her region understand and comply with federal regulations and policies, and she loves it.
Growing up, Kleinschmit was often shy and quiet. In fact, she was a self-described “geek”—when being a geek wasn’t cool. “Now I am a compliance geek—and I think it’s great,” Kleinschmit says. “I love geeking out with other compliance folks, deciphering thousands of pages of regulations, and finding solutions.”
It seems she has found her niche.
North and South Dakota encompass a large geographical area, so it can be difficult for members of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas to come together to network and learn from each other. Kleinschmit saw an opportunity to bridge the gap when CUNA began hosting online communities on its website.
Kleinschmit seized an opportunity for Dakota credit unions to share best practices and ask each other questions when CUNA offered the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas a chance to beta test their league-level compliance community. “We saw the platform as a way to continue the conversation beyond the occasional in-person meetings,” she says.
“The tsunami of rules and regulations over the past several years has been a heavy burden for all credit unions—especially the smaller credit unions,” Kleinschmit continues. “If I can help research and try to find the answer to their compliance questions, so they can have a little more time to serve their members, that’s my role.”
“Amy always goes above and beyond for the credit unions she serves,” says Katie Bredvik, CEO of Coteau Valley Federal Credit Union in Sisseton, S.D., who nominated Kleinschmit for the Rock Star honor.
Kleinschmit accepts the compliment with some modesty.
“I don’t always have all the answers, but often a specific problem one credit union is having is one that another has already dealt with. Because credit unions are so great at sharing information, expanding that into the compliance area was a natural fit. Sometimes, we just have to connect the dots,” she says.