CEO Corner

Embracing a Culture of Risk Vigilance

As we approach the start of football season, a sports idiom seems fitting. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. Simple management of risk just isn’t good enough anymore. Transactions are faster, criminals are smarter and the stakes are higher. As ACBB continues its commitment to support and serve community banking, we made a strategic decision to not simply comply, but to embrace a proactive, enterprise-wide approach to risk. We believe this presents an opportunity for ACBB to get ahead of issues that will impact our clients’ ability to do business and create a competitive advantage. Our strategy stems from a combination of regulatory feedback, insights from clients and the recognition that there is no such thing as business-as-usual anymore.

As I prepare for a keynote presentation on Enterprise Risk Management, I reflect on the actions we have undertaken and the initiatives currently in progress on this front in 2019. We created an external, director-level, compliance committee to complement our Audit Committee, bolstered expertise with a new Chief Risk Officer and doubled our BSA and Compliance resources. We crafted enhanced risk policies and procedures, elevated our employee training, upgraded technology both in infrastructure and transaction monitoring and deepened our due-diligence to better understand the business of both our clients, and the customers of our clients.

Many of these enhancements are visible to our clients and, unfortunately, sometimes result in deeper due diligence and extended turn-around times on transaction approvals. This is a sign-of-the-times and frankly, the new normal in the complex world in which we live. We recognize that it sometimes results in a reduction in the speed of execution and can be perceived as being less client-friendly then we’d like it to be, however, the alternative is much less appealing. Getting it right early is an investment that will pay dividends in the future. The emerging opportunities include the development of a state-of-the-art international remittance platform, as well as, working towards playing a key role in the faster payments world.

ACBB represents the collective asset size of a $500BN institution. As an aggregator and intermediary enabling you to assist your clients, we are in a unique and challenging position. Among our peer banker banks, we are on the forefront of accountability for risk management, BSA and compliance. These initiatives will aid you in managing the risks associated with your clients, particularly with cash vault and funds transfer services.

With your continued support and partnership, we are eager to make these investments, break new ground and support the growth and sustainability of community banking.