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Sue Vandermeuse didn’t envision spending 30 years in compliance. But the senior vice president of audit and assurance at $587 million asset Kohler Credit Union in Sheboygan, Wis., has found a challenging, rewarding path since stepping into the career in the early 1990s.
“I have made so many great friends in this journey and would not change many things,” says Vandermeuse, a member of the CUNA Compliance & Risk Council Executive Committee. “I believe in people helping people and the cooperative spirit.”
She’s been entrenched in the credit union industry for 44 years, starting as a teller and holding positions in nearly every department. She’s spent the past 13 years at Kohler Credit Union.
Along with senior management initiatives, Vandermeuse oversees compliance, fraud, audit, vendor management, business continuity, enterprise risk management, bond and insurance coverage/claims, and political advocacy.
She’s currently focused on regulatory safety and soundness and risk management: how the credit union mitigates risk and determines its risk appetite.
Complying with updates to the Bank Secrecy Act takes non-stop effort, as does Regulation Z (Truth in Lending). Vandermeuse also frequently deals with Regulation CC, reviews pending regulations, and submits regulatory comment letters.
The election cycle could also pose unique compliance challenges, as it may change who’s in charge of the regulatory agencies. While compliance is an ongoing process, the best way to address compliance issues is with regular testing and training, she says.
A mentor once told her that keeping up with regulations can be like changing a tire on a moving car, and that isn’t likely to change.
With that in mind, she advises young compliance leaders to improve their skills, create a network of peers people to bounce ideas off of, find resources to rely on, and establish a system for their compliance work.
“A lot of these regulations didn’t exist when I started my career, or at least to the degree that they do today,” says Vandermeuse. “Regulations are a constantly moving target.”