Regulators and government agencies understand the value of corporate compliance programs to advancing their mission. Some seek to empower the standing of chief compliance officers within their organizations, while others use speeches to call for proactive compliance being a priority.

These proclamations are viewed positively within a compliance community often facing barriers toward achieving their desired impact at their companies. But the words lose sting when the regulators and government agencies themselves aren’t practicing what they preach.

Seeing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) being rightly criticized after a third-party independent review concluded the regulator “failed to provide a workplace safe from sexual harassment, discrimination, and other interpersonal misconduct” because of its “patriarchal, insular, and risk-averse culture,” I can’t help but wonder: How much of this could have been prevented if it had an empowered CCO dictating its ethical standards?

The FDIC senior executive ranks include a general counsel and a chief risk officer (take note companies eliminating CCO roles in favor of folding the responsibilities into these other positions). Why no titles aimed at compliance? A close look at the review reveals why: The FDIC removed a personnel compliance position it had established as part of a 2001 consent decree addressing racial discrimination toward Black employees at the agency. History repeats itself.

And the lesson doesn’t appear to have been learned, either. FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, in testifying before Congress on Wednesday, pointed to the agency’s progress implementing its “Action Plan for a Safe, Fair, and Inclusive Work Environment” as key to addressing its culture issues. The plan, written in December, doesn’t indicate any intention to add compliance staff; only because the third-party review recommended “fundamental change to the agency’s structure and procedures for receiving and investigating complaints and taking disciplinary action against misconduct” is the FDIC now proposing the establishment of an independent Office of Professional Conduct reporting directly to its board.

It isn’t novel for compliance officer titles to comprise the staff of regulators and government. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has them. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has a CCO on her staff. The Department of Justice has made it a point to comprise its Criminal Division with former compliance officers to aid in its ability to craft effective compliance policies.

But it would go a long way for more of these entities to establish a clear CCO position meant to ensure the culture of compliance they expect is met within their own walls.

We appreciate that you say you value compliance. Now show it.