When it comes to managing compliance and risk, smaller financial institutions face unique challenges. They may not have the same resources as larger banks, but they must still comply with a complex web of regulations. By following these three compliance tips, smaller financial institutions can better manage risk and avoid costly penalties.
1. Use a Compliance Management System That’s Customizable
When it comes to compliance, one size does not fit all. That’s why it’s crucial to have a customizable compliance management system (CMS) that can adjust to meet the specific needs of your financial institution.
Your CMS should be able to track and monitor compliance risks on an ongoing basis and provide reporting and analytics capabilities. It should also be easy to use and allow collaboration between different departments within your institution.
Choosing a CMS like Pathlock.com, which is purpose-built for smaller financial institutions, can help you stay compliant while saving time and money. Pathlock.com can assist your institution in managing compliance by providing a centralized platform for storing and handling policies and procedures, training employees, and tracking suspicious activity.
2. Focus on Basic Risk Management Tactics First
There are a lot of different compliance risks that financial institutions face, but not all of them will be relevant to your particular institution. It’s essential to focus on the basics and build up from there.
Smaller financial institutions’ most common compliance risks include money laundering, fraud, and terrorist financing. Make sure you have policies and procedures in place to mitigate these risks.
Money laundering is a complex and ever-evolving crime. Still, there are some basic steps that small financial institutions can take to protect themselves from becoming involved in money laundering schemes.
- Establish and enforce anti-money laundering policies and procedures.
- Keep track of all financial transactions.
- You need to keep records for a minimum of five years.
- Educate your employees on identifying suspicious activity.
Fraud can come in many forms, but there are some common types of fraud that target small financial institutions.
- Check kiting is a fraud that involves writing checks for more money than what is actually in the account.
- ATM skimming is another type of fraud that occurs when criminals attach devices to ATMs that capture card information and PINs.
- Ponzi schemes are another type of fraud that can target small financial institutions. In a Ponzi scheme, funds from new investors are used to pay returns to earlier investors.
Terrorist financing is the provision of funds or other assets to individuals or groups to carry out terrorist activities. Small financial institutions can take steps to prevent terrorist financing by establishing policies and procedures for identifying and reporting suspicious activity.
3. Communicate Compliance Expectations
Share your institution’s compliance policies and procedures with all employees frequently and ensure they understand their expectations. Regular training on compliance topics can help ensure that everyone is up-to-date on the latest compliance risks and requirements.
Real Scenario Training
Training also offers real-life scenarios and examples of compliance risks. Employees will better understand how to identify and report suspicious activity and feel more comfortable doing so.
One example of a compliance risk that should be acted out in training is identity theft. Employees should be shown how to identify when someone is trying to use someone else’s personal information fraudulently and what to do if they suspect something is amiss.
Culture of Compliance
A culture of compliance starts at the top. Senior management and the board of directors should be visibly committed to compliance and setting the tone for the entire organization.
You need to encourage employees to speak up if they see something that doesn’t seem right. Encourage a culture of reporting so that compliance risks.
A small financial institution doesn’t mean it’s exempt from compliance risks. Mitigating these risks should be a priority for all institutions, no matter their size. Smaller institutions can protect themselves from costly penalties and reputational damage by taking a serious and proactive approach to compliance. By protecting your company and your customers, you’ll be able to create a foundation of trust that will last for years to come.