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Bank CCOs weigh effectiveness vs. burden of rules

Joe Mont | August 8, 2017

Banks continue to struggle with regulatory and compliance burdens, unconvinced that many rules work as intended and protect consumers.

That’s the takeaway from the American Bankers Association’s newly released biannual Survey of Bank Chief Compliance Officers.

Of 436 respondents, 90 percent of chief compliance officers believe that “consumers do not read the disclosures or find them helpful in choosing and using financial products.”

Additionally, 77 percent believe that regulations produce unintended consequences that negatively impact consumers, and 63 percent agree that regulatory uncertainty and cost deter pro-consumer financial innovation.

“With regulatory focus ramping up around risk management over the past few years, 79 percent said they are now performing enterprise-wide risk assessments, and of those, 86 percent are conducting them on an annual basis,” an ABA accounting of the study says. “A majority of compliance officers said that risk management plays a role in how they conduct various responsibilities including testing or monitoring activities, training activities, compliance audit programs, and the development or revision of policies and procedures.” 

Only 60 percent, however, said that their regulatory examination included a review of their risk management practice; 39 percent saying they saw no discernable difference in examination activity.

A little more half of banks have one to five compliance full-time employees; just over 30 percent said their number of FTEs has grown since the 2015 survey.

“Especially at smaller banks, compliance chiefs are also likely to serve as Community Investment Act officers, Bank Secrecy Act officers, and chief privacy officers,” ABA concluded.