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School's in Session: 3 Tips to Help You Ace Compliance

4 min read
Aug 28, 2019

Vacation time is over - at least for now - and school is back in session! For many of us, that means work is also back in full-swing. Here are three essential, timeless tips for you to remember to ensure that you ace your compliance goals in 2019 and beyond.

All around the country, children and young adults are going back to school. At the same time, professionals in all industries are returning from summer vacation and relaxation, and focusing their attention back on work. 

As you get back in the swing of things, we want to make sure that you have the right frame of mind to succeed. You'll also see valuable resources all the way through this post to help you dive deeper where desired. 

Here are 3 essential tips that will help you ace compliance this 2019!

Some of these tips are strategic, while others are tactical. All of them are gathered from our experience in working with and talking to compliance professionals. 

Did we miss your favorite? We'd love to hear from you about what helps you be successful in compliance at your institution! Leave your feedback in the comments below.

1. Remember why you’re doing it.

Whenever approaching a difficult or challenging task, one of the best things you can do is remind yourself why it matters. Why are you spending your valuable time, energy, passion, commitment, and intellect on this responsibility? Keeping the most important reasons in mind can help you maintain your motivation and your drive.compliance-team-trupoint

In compliance, it can be really helpful to remember why you're doing the work. Everyone's reasons will be different, although they probably fall into a few familiar categories. Some of those categories are things like good stewardship, minimizing risk, taking care of your colleagues and customers, or strengthening the banking industry.

Internally, we often return to this core belief: good compliance is good business. Not only can a strong compliance program help you avoid fees and fines, but it can also help you serve your customers better and grow! 

Why are you working in compliance? Why does it matter to your financial institution, and your team? How you can leverage your unique advantages and skills to be successful? By reconnecting to these core beliefs about your goals and your mission, you'll probably be more motivated to make the end of 2019 amazing.

2. Bookmark the best resources to make sure you’re staying up-to-date.

Compliance is one of those information-heavy roles in a financial institution. While most everyone probably should be learning new things every day at work, compliance professionals really have no choice. Things change regularly in this space, and such changes can have a big impact on your financial institution's ability to succeed.

As a busy compliance professional, it's important to find and review the best resources that will help you be good at your job and stay aware of regulatory updates. We've done a lot of round-up lists in the past of great resources for compliance pros. Here are two of our most popular:

How do you manage all your different resources? There's a lot of information out there. To prevent overwhelm, here are a few tips:

  • Create filters in your email inbox that direct all of your newsletters and blog subscriptions to one folder. Then, set aside a little time every day or every few days to review your unread messages.
  • Add a weekly calendar hold for learning and research so that you block out time for yourself to stay up-to-date. Honor that appointment with yourself!
  • Create a folder for your resources and save them after you download them. If you like the resource, consider renaming and saving it with a word like "good" or a rating like "A+" in the name, so that you know which ones were the most valuable.

Related: What Is A Compliance Management System And Why Your FI Needs One


3. Cultivate a culture of compliance. 

In compliance, as in so many other areas of life, teamwork makes the dream work. You really need a strong culture of compliance to be successful.

So how can you cultivate a culture of compliance?

First, consider why it doesn't yet exist. Do people know why compliance is important? Do they believe it has a direct impact on their current and future job? Do they respect and support the work you do? Why or why not?


If your answer to any of those above questions was "no" or "maybe not," the solution might be as simple as improving communication. By opening lines of communication and encouraging the discussion, you'll get people thinking about compliance more. In addition, you'll also get to hear more from your colleagues and share more of your own experiences. This sharing and relationship-building will go a long way towards creating a stronger culture of compliance. You may need to do a little healthy negotiating to get everyone on the same page, but that's a valuable experience, too.

However, something else is absolutely essential: a strong tone from the top.

Leadership needs to understand, internalize, and communicate the importance of compliance all the way through the company. Without their support, gaining any real traction and improving the culture will be difficult, if not impossible.

[Read Also: 12 Tips to Help You Ace Your Next Board Presentation]

If you don't yet have a strong culture of compliance, do your best to make it a priority for 2019! It's one of the most important elements you'll need to succeed this year and beyond.

In this spirit of learning, we've completely overhauled the Ultimate Compliance Glossary we first published last year. There are more than 50 new or updated definitions. If you're responsible for any area of compliance at a bank, credit union, or mortgage company, this resource is for you!


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