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Introducing your Greatest Asset… The Chief Compliance Officer

By Rhonda McGill
February 2, 2021
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If you have been keeping up with the last few issues of The Bottom Line, you may have seen a theme evolving—and if you guessed consumer protection, you are absolutely right! The writing has been on the wall and by now, we all know that without any doubt that there is a new Sheriff in town and he is loading up his Deputies to crack down on enforcement. That's where the Chief Compliance Officer comes in...

At the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the message has been loud and clear that the approach to consumer protection will be more aggressive. The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) nominee Marcia Fudge has also made it clear that she will take "extraordinary actions" to protect consumers from losing housing during the pandemic… and that, my friends, is just a small dose of how things are looking at the Federal level. At the State level, the Attorney Generals for the most part have held the line and one can only imagine that the more aggressive federal approach will fire up the masses. Who’s making sure that your company is ready to navigate compliance as potentially more eyes will be peeking into your business?

The importance of the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) is one that should never be overlooked. As a result of the evolution of regulatory requirements due to accounting fraud, anti-money laundering, and other nefarious acts in the early 2000s, the role of the CCO’s began to emerge as many companies recognized the need to have a “chief responsibility officer” on hand. The CCO serves a vital role in protection of the company and should be seen as one of its greatest assets. They understand how to manage the risk while building important relationships both internally and externally on behalf of the organization. The best CCO’s know how to take lemons and make lemonade, share it with all of those at the table, and leave you the recipe so that you can continue making your own long after they are gone. Just this week, Facebook announced the hiring of Henry Moniz, who will join the company as its first CCO. Like many large companies, Facebook had a compliance department, however, they have even conceded that “the current regulatory environment demands strong compliance leadership.” 

The Bottom Line...

The CCO is a critical voice in helping to shape the compliance culture for the company, and I guess you could say that they are seen as the “grown-ups” in the room because they are given the great responsibility of ensuring compliance, identifying risk, and helping the business to ensure that controls are in place. The CCO has to be someone that can adjust with the business, because so often the role is very open-ended and often there is no clear definition to the scope of the work. A CCO that manages a strong compliance program not only drives the compliance culture, but also can be seen as the protector of the company's brand. As we begin to navigate a return to a world with tighter compliance oversight, we must take into account the need to find ways to streamline the compliance process and get ahead of what is becoming the catchphrase of the new year… “regulatory scrutiny.”

The role of the Chief Compliance Officer will have a spotlight at PerformLine’s COMPLY Summit on Feb 4, where CCOs from BBVA, Plaid, and Upstart will share their insights on how their roles are changing within the evolving regulatory and technology landscape  If you have not registered, it is not too late to join us and be sure to get your free all-access pass for all three events. 

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