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ABA National Regulatory Compliance Conference Recap - Andy Zavoina

ABA National Regulatory Compliance Conference
by Andy Zavoina, BOL Guru
Guru BIOS

The ABA National Regulatory Compliance Conference saw record attendance with 1,300 compliance professionals gathered in Baltimore, MD. The ABA responded by increasing the number of concurrent sessions so the size of those attending was manageable. The hotel did an excellent job with the facilities and refreshments. And most importantly, the topics and presentations seemed to be right on target. The ABA had done a survey of compliance priorities and had sessions that addressed the top most concerns. There were leaders in the industry who spoke, leaders from FinCEN, OFAC, regulatory agencies and from the ABA. We heard better reasons for why some rules now exist and how they were trying to change some others. It was as though for those four days everyone had their fingers on the pulse of compliance and we saw ways to improve our value to our banks.

From morning to night we heard new ways to address BSA concerns and that new exam procedures were due at the end of June. We learned how to plan for these changes and how to implement others. The FCRA changes impacted by the FACT Act were discussed in a workshop environment with the audience participating actively in the discussion. We discussed risk assessments and controls, fraud, transaction life cycles of loans and information management. We heard new concerns over Unfair and Deceptive Practices, vendor management and so much more. Most importantly, we heard so many things that were usable. And we networked with peers, learning and growing. During some breaks we saw new products available, some that had a cost and some which are free, from vendors who wanted to help us grow our compliance programs.

Things learned at the ABA Compliance Conference:

  1. Risk management is everyone's job. The sessions were designed to help in the way we operate, which added value since it was usable information; especially in areas such as BSA, HMDA and FCRA. I have a better understanding of what needs to be done, and how to do it as well as seeing a validation of much of what I have done already.
  2. Hearing the common regulatory violations gave me things to look for in my institution. Since these are "common," these are certainly focal points to watch. Lucy Griffin explained not only what was wrong, but why, and how to correct it.
  3. Listening to leaders in the industry helps put things in perspective. The people at FinCEN and OFAC are real people and so are the regulators. They may may not agree with some of the rules as they are now and they sympathize with us on many issues. They're trying to change several things and explained why some of the rules exist, and they made sense.
  4. Compliance isn't a cost center. It is "profit preservation." And fortunately or unfortunately, thanks to the Bank Secrecy Act, Sarbanes Oxley, CRCM certification and some other issues, compliance is being recognized more as a valuable position in the bank, and not an additional duty.
  5. Networking with my peers was more valuable than I realized. And putting names and faces with BOL posters and Gurus adds a degree of confidence in the information I get from these people. And I hope they'll place a higher value on my contributions as well.

It was an excellent conference. Orlando in June of 2006 is already on the calendar.

First published on BankersOnline.com 7/1/05

First published on 07/01/2005

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