Credit union gets creative to develop in-house regulatory compliance expertise.
When the COO of St. Louis Community Credit Union knocked on Jennifer Barnes’ office door, Barnes had no idea the professional adventure she was in for. An eight-year employee of the $235 million community-focused credit union, Barnes’ nameplate read “Audit Specialist,” a position she had worked her way to from branch teller. Now she was being asked to consider a new, potentially intimidating, role – that of compliance manager for the entire organization.
Having worked in both risk and audit functions, Barnes was no stranger to the upheaval regulatory compliance could impart on a credit union, particularly one with 51,000 largely low-income members. Complicating matters was the credit union’s intense growth plans.
“When this opportunity came my way, I had no compliance background, nor was I certified,” said Barnes, who today proudly sports a CUNA Credit Union Compliance Expert (CUCE) designation behind her name. “What ultimately gave me the confidence to say ‘yes’ was my supervisor’s strategy for ladder-stepping me into the expertise I needed to serve the credit union well.”
That strategy was to pair Barnes with the experienced team at regulatory compliance firm PolicyWorks, and not just for the short-term but well into the future. St. Louis Community Credit Union’s leadership had determined that working in tandem with an external partner was the best way to build its own compliance competency.