ABA Keynoter: 'We Are Involved in Every Area.' (American Bankers Association, Kate Barr, Compliance) (Includes Related Article on American Bankers Association's Annual Regulatory Compliance Conference)
Henry, Shannon, American Banker
Kate Barr began her banking career 13 years ago at a start-up institution, where she had to do anything and everything.
It turned out to be great training for her future as a compliance officer.
Ms. Barr, now senior vice president at Riverside Bank, a $160 million asset institution in Minneapolis, was slated to give the opening address Sunday at the American Bankers Association's annual regulatory compliance conference in Boston. The conference continues through Wednesday.
"Doing compliance well requires you to know how the bank runs," Ms. Barr said in an interview. "We are involved in every area of the bank."
A sea change has occurred in compliance. What used to be considered nothing more than a nuisance has become critical to consummating mergers and avoiding big fines. Today, chief executives realize that ignoring compliance is inviting disaster.
BankAmerica Corp.'s Texas unit has packed its compliance program with power.
"Only I, as CEO, can overrule the compliance officer," BofA Texas chief Ron Biagi said in a speech scheduled to be given Sunday at the ABA conference."In reality, there is very little in my bank that does not concern compliance."
The best compliance officers understand the bank's business, Mr. Biagi said, and work with senior managers to enforce Washington's edicts while maintaining an eye on the bottom line.
"My compliance officer must protect the management team's backside while the team stays focused on the business initiatives," Mr. Biagi's text said. "The ability to constantly pursue compliance issues, while maintaining a professional relationship of trust and support with line management, may be the single most important attribute a compliance officer can command."
The compliance officer should anticipate and identify problems, then delegate the countermeasures to others, Mr. Biagi planned to say.
"Compliance is every employee's job," he said.
Ms. Barr agreed, adding that Riverside Bank is installing an early warning system to detect violations before they grow into serious problems. …