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Do I Need Certification?

As you can see from this issue, we are becoming actively involved in the certification process for security, compliance, and trust officers in financial institutions.

Following an after dinner speech last week in which I referred to the certification programs, a security officer came to me and asked, "Why bother with certification? I'm already a security officer. If I was hunting a job, I could see it would do me some good, but do I really need it where I am?"

Think about the climate of our industry.

The examiners who rate our institutions have been given some very specific instructions about what to look for and where to lean.

Congress is concerned about whether we are harboring criminals in our midst, or making life easy for the ones outside. Their solution to their fears is passing more legislation "fixing" the blame. The security officer and the compliance officer have become targets.

The public sees our battle with a tarnished image as an up-hill fight-a sort of "show me you're OK" attitude.

If you are a security or a compliance officer, you know that you are about as popular with the employees of your institution as an IRS audit. To have them perform properly means you must have their respect. Certification will add polish to your personal image.

Mergers of institutions can very quickly mean there are two people for one job, with obvious consequences. Whether in security, compliance or trust, you would have the advantage if you were recognized as being a certified professional, having met all the requirements necessary.

Last, but certainly not least, is the new Bank Protection Act that will be effective May 1, 1991. The translation of that incredibly short regulation is frightening to every security officer-or should be! The increase of responsibility and liability contained in Regulation P (Minimum Security Devices and Procedures) has counsel all over the United States advising security officers to obtain umbrella insurance in order to protect themselves.

We have always been aware in this business that we have to stay up to date in many areas. The Institute of Certified Bankers has focused on those areas they deem most important-Compliance, Personal Trust, Corporate Trust, and Security.

My answer to my banking friend? Yes, I do think you need the certification. For your own protection, your continuing education, your self confidence-and for the confidence of your board of directors, your administrators, the employees and customers for whom you are responsible, and for your institution's image.

Don't underestimate this certification program. It isn't a "piece of cake." You're going to have to know your stuff in order to pass the hundreds of questions in that examination.

But after you have studied the material and passed the test, you're going to feel good about yourself and the proof of your expertise.

And your institution is going to feel good about you!

Copyright © 1991 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 2, No. 3, 4/91

First published on 04/01/1991

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