Bowling over compliance barriers

Katie Clark strives to explain to colleagues at iQ Credit Union why compliance is important.

September 25, 2020

Adding “Credit Union Rock Star” to her credentials may mean Katie Clark needs a bigger business card.

As the compliance manager at $1.3 billion asset iQ Credit Union in Vancouver, Wash., Clark maintains multiple certifications including Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Specialist (BSACS), Credit Union Enterprise Risk Management Expert (CUERME), and Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE).

While many believe “compliance” and “burden” are inextricable, Clark is happy to explain why compliance is important.

“Not everyone loves rules. I get that,” she says. “I view compliance like the bumpers on a bowling lane. The bumpers don’t ensure you will roll a strike, but they do ensure you don’t end up in the gutter. My role isn’t to tell the team they can’t do something—it is to understand where we are trying to go and how we can get there while maintaining a strong compliance focus.”

Clark seeks to create a culture at iQ where the compliance department is a partner, not an adversary. “I’m proud of the fact the marketing team sees me as a valuable resource to help ensure ongoing compliance,” she says. “We work closely together on new materials, and I know it is a unique relationship that we’ve been able to build.”

Clark enjoys helping colleagues learn how to work with regulations and laws to accomplish the credit union’s goals.

“I try to think about where they’re coming from. I know compliance is not the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning,” she says. “I enjoy explaining the ‘why’ behind what we do.”

Clark came to iQ from the Northwest Credit Union Association where she served as director of regulatory compliance and risk management.

“I knew iQ had a strong leadership team and a commitment to giving back to the community. Everyone strives to do the best for members every single day,” she says. “When I learned of the opportunity to join the iQ team, it felt like a can’t-miss opportunity to help take the credit union’s compliance program to the next level.”

Clark first learned about credit unions from her jobs in the banking industry, where she started out as a part-time teller.

“Governance is one of the key differences between banks and credit unions,” says Clark, who shares the benefits of credit union membership with anyone she meets.

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