Bank of America has moved its compliance function out of its legal department and aligned it under Chief Risk Officer Geoff Greener and the bank's Risk Management organization.
"Our decision to combine the two groups aligns all risk management oversight under our Chief Risk Officer simplifying how we operate and is consistent with steps we have been taking as our company continues to normalize after largely resolving legacy issues related to the financial crisis," a statement from the bank says. The change took place on Wednesday morning.
Like other big banks, Bank of America has faced billions of dollars in regulatory fines and settlements since the financial crisis. A recent tally of regulatory actions by analysts at the firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods put Bank of America at the top of the list, shelling out $58 billion over the course of settlements (by comparison JPMorgan paid $31 billion and Citigroup $13 billion since 2009). Among the legacy issues cited by Bank of America are settlements connected to its 2008 acquisition of Countrywide Financial and its disasterous mortgage portfolio.
The compliance shuffle comes amid a push by bank regulators, notably the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, for financial institutions to do a better job of integrating compliance efforts with risk mitigation.
In September, the OCC published final guidelines intended to strengthen the governance and risk management practices of large financial institutions. They call upon banks with $50 billion or more in assets to establish and adhere to a written risk governance framework to manage and control risk-taking activities. They also provide minimum standards for the institutions’ boards of directors to oversee the risk governance framework.