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Edcomm Community Outreach at A Woman's Place

December 22, 2016 - Holidays are not about the presents under the tree or near the glow of the menorah. It is about the glow of warmth and kindness in our hearts. There is a special kind of grace brought with holidays that opens hearts to strangers.

No organization is better at opening their hearts than A Woman’s Place. A Woman’s Place is a domestic abuse shelter that helps women press the restart button on their lives when their husband or life partner threatens their lives and the lives of their children. They provide a lifeline to empower women to help themselves. A Woman’s Place helps domestic violence survivors build safety plans, locate the resources they need to live, and build professional skills.

At Edcomm Banker’s Academy we know quite a lot about building professional skills, and even offer training on how to prevent and to address Sexual Harassment in the workplace. On December 21st, the Edcomm team offered more than our standard training programs, we offered our time and our helping hands. The shelter opened its doors for a wave of volunteers.

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Account Managers, Content and Creative Specialists, and Managers alike loaded into cars to help A Woman’s Place carry and sort holiday donations. Margaret Mead once cautioned, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." It may not seem a big deal for a small group of online banking trainers and designers to lift heavy boxes from a white awp3transport truck, up creaking stairs, and down tucked away cellars, but it is the small actions of volunteers that ensures that a woman kind find diapers for her newborn child when trying to create a new life for her family, free from the clutches of her abuser.

It is the time that volunteers and staff members donate to organize and to separate cleaning products from food, that makes it possible for survivors to feed their hungry children, or to find the toiletries they need to freshen up for a job interview that might change the course of their lives. It is these simple actions that makes it easy for staff members to find blankets to keep women and children at the shelter warm on a cold winter night. Holidays can be tough for kids who do not understand why they cannot wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning. Knowing where supplies are cannot fix the hurt they feel, but it can create smiles and perhaps a sense of normalcy.

The Edcomm Group is grateful that A Woman’s Place gave us the opportunity to be part of their family for the day. In a time where many people try to show their love for others by buying the perfect present, volunteering reminded us that the best gift you can give is your attention and good will.

From our family to yours, we wish you a warm and safe holiday season!

by: Madelyn Fagan

No Records, No Compliance

Discussions about regulatory compliance generally focus on governance, risk identification and management, training, and testing. However, an important aspect of compliance is documentation. Namely, the defined records of the compliance program, for example, training and tracking records and client onboarding files. These records are the proof of compliance. ‘Trust but verify’ is the compliance mantra.

In many financial institutions, record management is a centralized business function. Although records management strategy may be centralized, each of the firm’s operations and functions are responsible for executing it. It is important to note that records refers to both paper and digital formats. Creating a records inventory with corresponding retention and purge dates in the form of a schedule ensures that firms do not place themselves at risk because records are maintained too long or discarded too soon, according to policy or statute. Similarly, periodic reviews of this schedule ensure the records management strategy remains effective and up-to-date. Mock requests test the firm’s ability to retrieve compliance records in a timely manner. Regulators and internal auditors consider ease of access and timely retrieval in their respective assessments.

Compliance records tell a firm’s compliance story.

Often overlooked until it is too late, record management should be a forethought when establishing a compliance program. Partnering with the records management function can ensure firms are able to put their best foot forward under scrutiny.

 

By: Sheryl Smikle PhD

A Strong Culture Yields Strong Compliance

2016 has been a trying year for financial institutions. Record Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) penalties were levied and well-known financial institutions found themselves on the front page of news publications because of widespread compliance violations. In the wake of these highly-publicized compliance breaches, business analysts opined on the possible root causes of these events. Often the answer was a simple one: company culture.

Company culture is a unique set of internal norms, values, beliefs and behaviors that characterize the spirit of a firm. From the outside, one might describe the culture as entrepreneurial, hierarchical, collaborative or top-down, to name a few. Whatever the label, culture plays an essential role in effective or ineffective compliance.

Healthy company cultures have high levels of engagement, commitment, productivity, innovation--and good compliance. Unhealthy company cultures do not. There have been some compliance success stories in 2016 and culture played an important part, especially given the aggressive regulatory landscape. Doing the right thing because it is good business ensures that compliance becomes part of a company’s culture, making it stronger. Without a strong compliance culture, compliance becomes merely ‘check the box.’

 

By: Sheryl Smikle Ph.D

A Win for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: J.P Morgan's Latest Settlement

J.P. Morgan Chase and its Hong Kong affiliate have agreed to pay a total of more than $200 million in fines to the U.S government to settle charges of nepotism related to its hiring practices in Asia.

Since at least 2006, J.P. Morgan had been allegedly hiring people in China who have personal ties to influential government officials, legislators and, business moguls in hopes of securing favor with the country’s leaders and decision makers. Under the 1977 U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, companies are prohibited from paying bribes to Foreign countries, but the practice had become so common at J.P. Morgan over the past decade that the bank even had a formalized internal program called “Sons and Daughters” to help keep track of any employees referred to J.P. Morgan by clients, and how often these referred hires would lead to business deals after hire.

In many cases, those hired through the “Sons and Daughters” program were unqualified for the positions that they received, and although some were given prestigious titles, they were often tasked with light clerical duties such as photocopying and proofreading.

This settlement is considered to be one of the first big wins for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. U.S. officials are also said to be investigating the hiring practices of several other large banks that do business in Asia, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and UBS.

By:Christine Belusko

The CFPB: More Than a Super Regulator

Two years after the ‘Great Recession,” sweeping banking and consumer reforms were ushered in with the passage of The Dodd-Frank Act. One result of this unprecedented legislation was the creation of a consumer watchdog: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB is charged with protecting the rights of consumers in the marketplace. Their charge is to ensure the marketplace remains fair, transparent and competitive.

The CFPB regulates large and small banks, credit unions and non-bank financial institutions, such as payday lenders and private mortgage brokers, which were previously unregulated. When there is an egregious violation of consumer law, the CFPB can issue consent orders and levy significant monetary penalties. Often, such fines are in the millions. By statutory design, the CFPB has broad regulatory oversight, authority, and enforcement power. However, Dodd-Frank empowered the CFPB to engage in activities beyond enforcement. Below is a list of non-enforcement CFPB tasks:

  • Creating financial tools for consumers
  • Educating consumers from cradle to grave
  • Providing answers to consumer inquiries
  • Logging consumer complaints
  • Educating financial institutions about their consumer responsibilities
  • Publishing consumer behavior research
  • Monitoring the marketplace for new consumer risks

The CFPB is uniquely positioned to use the proverbial ‘carrot and the stick’ to protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the marketplace and ensure accountability across the financial services industry.

 

By: sheryl Smikle PhD

 

 

  • We switched to Banker’s Academy over a year ago from a different online training program. The cost savings was tremendous - which has been very helpful in this time of budget cuts. We found that the training content is precise, to the point, and always current. It doesn't have a lot Read More
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