The 'CEO of Compliance'
CU leader's enthusiasm is matched only by her compassion.
KIMBERLY BOHANNON THINKS OF HER JOB—vice president of compliance and risk management at Knoxville (Tenn.) TVA Employees Credit Union—as a hidden treasure of sorts.
“Compliance is a job most people dread and wouldn’t want to work in,” she says. “To me, it’s one of the best jobs in the credit union. I get opportunities to research, investigate, train—so many different things in the course of the day. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Bohannon draws an analogy to a story about a tollbooth operator. When an interviewer asked if his job was boring, he replied that it was the best job in the world—he was the CEO of his tollbooth.
“I’m CEO of compliance,” Bohannon quips. “I have opportunities to effect positive change for the credit union. We have lots of room to grow the compliance program in nontraditional ways.”
Bohannon’s enthusiasm is matched only by her compassion. “I try to approach compliance from a place of ‘yes,’ ” she says. “Rather than saying ‘no,’ I look for a way to help members while complying with regulations.”
For example, a member presented an unusual form of trust document and wanted to open an account for his mother. “Trusts scare people because they’re all different,” explains Bohannon. “They’re not on our checklist, so we usually say we can’t help them.”
After a little research, she realized the trust was a pretty simple form the credit union could handle.
“It just took a few extra minutes. I believe in treating people how I’d want to be treated,” she says.
Bohannon’s team appreciates her outlook. “Her approach to compliance has eliminated the negative stigma often associated with compliance and has reconstructed the department as a positive resource that provides education and assistance,” says Jamin Carlisle, senior compliance specialist at Knoxville TVA Employees.
Bohannon’s perspective stems from the major life change her family encountered several years ago, when her husband was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder. “As the caretaker of a disabled person, I saw my whole life differently. With something like that trust account, I knew the member—as caretaker of his elderly mother—had to take off work to come to the credit union. I wanted to help him,” she says matter-of-factly.
After working in compliance at the North Carolina Credit Union League for 14 years, Bohannon moved to the credit union in 2010. She continues to work for the best interests of the movement by providing compliance training at no charge—time permitting—to smaller credit unions that struggle to afford such resources.