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Put Work-Life Balance in Your Compliance Budget!

4 min read
Oct 2, 2015

It’s budgeting season, which means it’s time to review last year’s activities and plan for 2016 spending. When developing your 2016 compliance budget, make sure to account for work-life balance. Here’s how.

For financial institutions nationwide, early fall is budgeting season. That means it’s time to review, debrief, balance, assess, plan and prep for compliance success in 2016. As you develop your 2016 budget, consider also how to budget for work-life balance next year.

We know budgeting can be challenging for any department, but perhaps especially for compliance. In some institutions, compliance is thought of as a cost center. Even if that’s not the case at your institution, 91 percent of banks under $10 billion in assets report that the cost of compliance is increasing, which can cause additional stress.

That said, there are some things you can do to positively affect your budget for compliance and reduce work-related stress. Here, we’ll explore some important elements of any compliance budget and how to reduce their cost, as well as some tips and tricks for getting your weekends back.

Finding Efficiencies Reduces Compliance Stress and Cost

A comprehensive compliance budget must include many different elements; from salaries to supplies, there's a lot to consider. How do you balance all of these requirements and stay within the budget?

It's not easy - but increasing efficiencies can make it easier by maximizing the value of every dollar spent.

Maximizing efficiencies can lower costs and save time, which in turn can help lower stress. One way to maximize efficiences is to bundle services and analysis that are similar and where it makes sense. Bundling will reduce costs, simplify vendor requirements and hopefully allow you to find some additional time in your schedule. For example: 

  • Bundle BSA/AML Risk Assessments and Independent Reviews: All institutions that comply with BSA/AML are expected to conduct an annual risk assessment to help build and maintain a strong compliance program. They are also expected to have an annual independent review performed that assesses how well the risks are being controlled. Some institutions improve efficiency by having the same partner conduct both the risk assessment and independent review. Because that partner is already familiar with the policies and procedures from the risk assessment, it makes the independent review that much easier, faster and less costly.
  • Combine Fair Lending & CRA Analysis: Regulators absolutely expect institutions to conduct both Fair Lending and CRA analysis of their data. For many institutions, this analysis shares some common data sets and even risks. Why not maximize the value of gathering and prepping those data sets to address two major compliance initiatives? In addition, by using one solutions provider for both types of analysis, you can gain greater insight than would be possible by analyzing for each regulation independently.
  • Develop a Streamlined Training Plan: Training is an important aspect of nearly every area of compliance. For regulations that are related, consider developing training modules simultaneously. That is, if you're working on Fair Lending training, consider developing UDAAP training, too. The policies and procedures are related, and similar people at the institution would be involved. You can improve efficiencies even more by streamlining the information gathering, training development, delivery and record-keeping across multiple regulations with a single partner.

When we develop products, we keep efficiency and user experience top of mind. If you have questions about how we can help with any of the above, just email info@trupointpartners.com

The Importance of Work-Life Balance, and How to Budget for It

Especially recently, we’ve heard from clients, friends, partners and prospects that the burden of compliance is overwhelming. The pace of change seems to keep increasing, new regulations and considerations seem to crop up daily, and most compliance departments are perpetually understaffed.

With mounting deadlines, high risk-low reward situations, and regulatory pressure, it's no wonder that compliance officers are so stressed. We've heard that some sources are having trouble sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night afraid they forgot something, and working overtime on the weekends. One client recently told us of a friend who resigned from her position as a compliance officer, citing work-related stress as the primary reason.

We all know that extreme stress just isn't healthy, but finding a work-life balance in this regulatory environment can seem impossible. 

As we've mentioned above, increasing efficiencies can really help you gain time and reduce overall spending, and this will help reduce stress.

You can also find work-life balance by outsourcing where possible, and letting a trusted partner take some pressure off your plate. Consultants and partners will see hundreds of institutions, whereas you likely only see one - they have unique insights, and can often do the work more quickly and efficiently than a single compliance officer or a small department. These consultants and partners are there to support you and help you be successful, and will often help you prioritize.  

However, you can also budget for work-life balance in a more intuitive, personal way. When do you feel most successful at work? What do you excel at, and what might another person be better equipped to manage? What about your work is most rewarding to you? Once you've thought about these questions, try to play to your strengths. You will likely find that you not only work faster, you're happier at what you do.

So pressure is high and resources are low? Here's a trick that those with the most job satisfaction often employ: do something every day that makes you feel rewarded or accomplished. Take a minute to write this action down, and keep a personal list of achievements. You never have to share this with anyone, but it can become a personal resource when you get overwhelmed. Just take a look at your list and remember how far you've come. This sense of progress will help improve perspective and reactivate momentum. 

TRUPOINT Viewpoint: It's the rare compliance officer that looks forward to budgeting season, but you can make it more enjoyable by maximizing efficiencies and improving your work-life balance.

While this may seem difficult, it's possible for every single compliance officer to not only improve efficiencies in their institution's compliance risk management, but also to improve their work-life balance.

To talk to a consultant about how TRUPOINT can help make your compliance management more efficient and effective, just request a risk-free, no-obligation consultation today. You'll speak with a specialist - not a salesperson - about what issues are causing you the most stress and standing in the way of your objectives. 

We can't help everyone with everything, but this initial exploratory conversation is a great way to start an open, honest dialogue, and begin developing a plan for making 2016 less stressful than 2015. When you're ready for a more relaxed, successful 2016, we'll be ready to talk!

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