There is something about a massive storm approaching that brings both wonder and a bit of terror to those that lie in its path. Having spent a pair of hurricane seasons in Haiti, and having seen the ravages of massive storms on ill prepared locales, I can appreciate the concern of those in the path of any storm.
Every morning, I comb the websites of the regulatory agencies, looking for the latest developments on hot topics to post to our online issues tracking board, riskinbox.com (you should drop by; it’s good stuff). The last couple of weeks have been relatively quiet on the agency boards, due largely to the national holiday. But a closer look at the warning signs suggests that what we may be experiencing now is the deceptive calm before the storm.
I was looking at the GSA (General Services Administration) website that covers the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. It’s a rather daunting website in many respects. For one, spend some time on the webpage (http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/Utilities/index.jsp) and you’ll see that our national government is one busy collective group.
There are 53 Agencies and, not surprisingly, each of them seems intent on promoting regulations.
Take the CFPB, for example. While it is likely that most people who read this aren’t directly regulated by the CFPB, there is little question that “the Bureau” has a massive influence on all financial services entities.
No Bank or Credit Union can escape its influence. So, it makes sense to place them on your radar, whether they are your regulatory agency or not.
Obviously, at riskinbox.com, we watch them on a near hourly basis. We’re obsessed with tracking their pressure points.
The spring 2013 regulatory agenda of the CFPB gives one great insight into where the storm clouds are heading. Take a look at it:
HMDA, Privacy, Payday Lending, Debt Collection, Appraisals, Prepaid Cards, Mortgage Lending, RESPA/TILA, Fair Lending, Expedited Funds, Remittance and Student Lending. Did we miss anything?
The Great Equalizer
There is no question that the breadth and depth of the issues of focus for CFPB, if the full force of the storm were to be unleashed, could swamp most smaller financial institutions. How can the smaller bank or credit union prepare for the potential regulatory fury?
The great equalizer is this: Technology.
Having worked 25 years as an either an Examiner or a Consultant, I’ve spent time in the smallest and the largest of institutions, from a $5 million credit union to some of the top five banks in the nation in terms of asset size. There is no question that differences exist, but one of the great equalizers for smaller FIs that I have seen is technology.
It takes a lot for a larger FI to embrace new technology. Like a large ship, a large institution can’t turn around on a dime. There are fleets of existing technology with legacy limitations that despise most anything new.
But a smaller FI can be like a speedboat, making 180s look easy. I’ve seen it time and time again. When smaller FIs take advantage of technology and partner with firms offering smart technology tools backed with regulatory know-how, they not only can keep pace the large compliance divisions of the “big boys,” they actually can beat them.
In my 25 years in the industry, I’ve never seen technology leveraged in such a smart way as I have with AffirmX. It’s why I’m here. It offers a technological interface built around a centrally based team of regulatory experts. Smaller financial institutions are reaping the advantages of the cost-savings without sacrificing know-how.
If you have been enjoying the mild compliance and risk climate as of late, but are sensing a compliance and risk storm a-brewing, I invite you to contact our Mike Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-972-3624, ext. 7015, to schedule a no-obligation demo of what makes AffirmX platform so innovative.