Similar Titles

Risk Manager, Internal Auditor, Accreditation Lieutenant, Accreditation Manager, Compliance Director, Compliance Operations Manager

Job Description

Bank Compliance officers are responsible for making sure their financial institution is properly following the law. This means they make look at their bank’s actions and check its compliance with federal, state, and local law. It is a required position at all US banks.

“My job to conduct reviews of our current policies, procedures, practices, and work flows to understand if we are complying with all state and federal laws. If I can find an area that can be improved I help to develop programs designed to reduce risk. I also review and evaluate vendor contracts to determine if the company can provide the services needed, are adequately prepare to support our overall needs, and then build actual contracts for signature. As one of the more important aspects of my job I conduct monthly risk assessments on business practices. I help to identify where improvements can be made and then pass these on to the managers and help develop better documentation process and quality control reviews. “ Jarrett Wright Carson, Compliance Manager, Alaska USA FCU

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Important in preserving people’s personal property.
  • Able to be detail oriented, but also work with many people.
  • Compensation is high.

"I can see the benefit of my job in the ability for my employees to help customers and other departments within our organization. I get to mentor, develop, and coach my employees into being the next managerial group that will lead this company. " Jarrett Wright Carson, Compliance Manager, Alaska USA FCU

The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

A Compliance Officer typically works a full-time schedule in a bank or similar financial institution. They may work closely with the Chief Operating Officer or the Risk Management division. Their main responsibility is making sure the bank complies with the law, though they may also have non-legal moral obligations to maintain as well. During the day, you could expect to:

  • Research new laws impacting their organization, or reviewing precedent for older laws.
  • Work with other bank employees to complete reports to regulatory agencies.
  • Document everything occurring and tracking these documents, including complaints or investigations.
  • Implement investigations when there are compliance issues, and contacting all staff about non-compliance, as well as how to report issues.
  • Maintain procedures and practices to keep organization in compliance.

"My typical day first starts out with a meeting. I try to always have a team meeting in order to prioritize what needs to be accomplished within my division. In this meeting I focus on the priorities of work, making sure me and my team are on the same page, and then ensure that I know if there are any issues that could arise. Communication is key. After this initial meeting, usually I review my daily and production tracker. This allows me to see what I have on my "to do list", the priorities, and who needs it. I then start picking the highest priority item or what can be done the quickest and slowly attack the list. This sometimes will require extensive reading, contracts, legal documents, federal or state laws, etc. After lunch I then change gears and start focusing on the training aspect of what my team does. We develop training programs and this allows me to then focus on this area without many distractions. Towards the end of the day, I conduct an informal review of what my team has accomplished, what I have done, and then build a plan for the next day and my morning meetings." Jarrett Wright Carson, Compliance Manager, Alaska USA FCU

Skills Needed on the Job
  • Critical Thinking
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Skill with administration and management
  • Customer service
  • Knowledge of human resources.
  • Computer literacy, including email, office software, and similar.
  • Project Management Software
  • Compliance Software – Often trained in-house.
  • Legal knowledge
Current Trends

There are several trends in compliance in banking, as well as other industries. Change in legal and moral concerns affect these organizations. Recent trends in protesting, whistleblower protections, and shifting laws have meant there has been plenty of information to keep up on.

As data surges to the forefront of tech and finance, there is also a movement toward protection of data privacy. Compliance Officers work to make sure their institution can protect their clients’ data.

With an increasing global economy, Officers also need to maintain broader knowledge of world legal concerns and laws in other countries.

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Playing board games and exploring the rules.
  • Reading books and problem solving.
  • Keeping personal belongings organized.
Education and Training Needed
  • Bachelor’s Degree
    • Suggested major: Finance, Economics, Business, Law
  • Master’s Degree, Preferred
Things to do in High School and College
  • Take accounting courses to supplement finance, etc.
  • Participate in an internship if available.
  • Business Professionals of America
  • Many financial institutions will employ college students to help build experience.
How to land your 1st job

"Have an effective resume that does not just list the responsibilities of the job. Talk about what you did, and how well you did it. Focus on ACTION, IMPACT, and RESULT. What did you do, what did it do for the company, and what was the final result of your actions. Your resume should be as long as it needs to be to convince the reader you are the right person for the job." Jarrett Wright Carson, Compliance Manager, Alaska USA FCU

During school, an internship is a great way to build a network and make connections in the industry. Working closely with professors can also build this network. This will help you find a position in a financial institution. Due to the growth in the financial industry, banks and credit unions are often hiring for entry-level positions.

You may work as a Teller for several months, or you may be able to use your network to get hired directly into a bank’s compliance department. It can be easier to find these positions in larger cities where the institutions are larger as well.

How to Climb the Ladder
  • When you are able to move into a bank’s compliance department, expect to work for a senior compliance officer. They will teach you the inner workings of the institution.
  • Banks will often support your further education, as you will often be required to gain certification to become a full compliance officer. These classes can take 1-5 years, often requiring 80 hours of training classes.
  • When you are certified, you can move up to a senior role. There are several professional organizations you can join as well as participating in conferences. Compliance is a field that rewards due diligence, strong ethics, and excellent work. If you do a good job, your institution may not realize it as they will not have to hold many investigations!
  • You will also be required to keep up with training. Professional Development guidelines often involve up to 60 hours of training every three years. An advanced degree can also help.

"Sacrifice and Dedication. Sacrifice the things you do not need or should not be doing for the things you know are going to help you become better. Be dedicated to your plan. Your plan will help you achieve your overall goals." Jarrett Wright Carson, Compliance Manager, Alaska USA FCU

Recommended Resources
  • American Bankers Association
  • The Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Bank Compliance Magazine
Plan B
  • Banking Administration
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Examiner (Government)
  • Tax Professional/Accountant
Words of Advice

Bank Compliance is part of a larger group of Financial Examiners. It is all about helping business navigate not only legal complications, but moral ones as well. If you are an individual who wants to help prevent fraud, or other financial problems, it is an excellent career path. These individuals, at their best, can help organizations thrive while truly helping their customers.

You will need to be good with legal matters, as well as have some knowledge of the financial world.


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