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The Softer Side of Compliance

When one thinks of ‘compliance’ often words like ‘mandatory’ or ‘required’ follow. Institutions are either ‘in compliance’ or ‘out of compliance.’ Only considering compliance in this way is not only limiting but also laden with obligation and angst. However, there is a ‘softer side’ to compliance. It is the softer side of compliance that may play a large role in the foreshadowed financial deregulation expected with the new administration, as financial institutions who are relieved of certain legal requirements decide to continue to comply with them. The process for promulgating new rules typically include:

  • proposals,
  • hearings,
  • draft rules,
  • comment periods,
  • final rule,
  • announcement of rule effective date, and
  • date of expected compliance.

At a minimum, months separate each of phase of this rule-making process. Nevertheless, once it is clear a rule is on the horizon and the scope is more or less defined, financial institutions may decide to get a head start by complying in advance of the rule’s promulgation.

Voluntary compliance has many benefits. One, it signals to the regulators that the institution is serious about compliance.  Two, it positions the institution to become a source of best practices. Three, it provides the institution’s employees and management teams with lead time to adjust to the legal requirements and provides more time for developing and fine-tuning the necessary new processes that the new regulation will require. In sum, voluntarily complying in advance has a number of significant benefits.

Similarly, some new regulations may only apply to certain financial institutions but not to others. The reasons for this are many, for example:

  • The industry class is exempt.
  • The institutional size, asset level, geographic location, or other trait do not meet the applicability requirement.
  • This is a low compliance risk for the institution type.
  • Implementation of the new rule will be phased over time.

In these cases, although not obligated to comply, a financial institution may decide to voluntarily comply because it fits with its business strategy, addresses constituent concerns (such as the board of directors or investors), aligns well with the institution’s brand, or reflects ‘good corporate citizenship,’ to name a few. Voluntary compliance can also be touted as a best practice and provide the financial institution with a basis for enhancing its value proposition, thereby strengthening its competitive edge.

Compliance is good for business whether it is mandatory or voluntary. However, taking a proactive approach to compliance can take the some of the edge off and loosen internal resistance will yielding positive organizational and strategic benefits.

Sheryl Smikle PhD

Safer Internet Day


From Cyberbullying to identity theft, the internet can be an intimidating place. Every year Safer Internet Day helps to spread the word of kindness through educational tips, tools, and personal experiences. This day is celebrated around the world with the intention of making the internet a better place for everyone.

Today there will be an event hosted in Philadelphia with over 200 students and major technology representatives from different backgrounds. This event is filled with panel discussions such as Youth and Tech Industry issues, Diversity and Security Careers, and Announcing the What’s Your Story? Video Contest where applicants submit their acts of kindness on the internet stories. The applicant with the best story will have the opportunity to have it shared on Safer Internet Day.

The theme of Safer Internet Day “Be the change: Unite for a better internet,” inspires people and major companies like Facebook, Google, and Yahoo to support this cause and contribute to its growth. With the participation of individuals and businesses worldwide, this day will help mold the internet for the future. Making changes today will lead to a better and safer tomorrow.

By Lauren Joyce

The Computer Fraud Abuse Act

Once occasional and uncommon, cyber attacks against financial services and bank computer systems are now quite commonplace. Bank customer information, research and development data, trade secrets and intellectual property are at an unprecedented high risk of theft, sabotage, and even ransom. Many companies have addressed cyber attacks as a mainly IT issue, according to tech professionals. However, compliance analysts view this strategy as shortsighted. 

Cyber attacks do not just target business hardware or software. In today’s climate, a company’s data assets, competitive edge, brand standing and reputation are now at risk. Enhancing information security compliance programs should include addressing the legal requirements of applicable computer fraud, copyright, data privacy and protection, and trade secrets.

Building a cybersecurity compliance program that encompasses a wider spectrum of regulations demonstrates how the singular goals and objectives of applicable statutes not only overlap but can actually fortify one another. In sum, the financial services and banking industry would be well-served to build a cyber security compliance program that has the ability to address the wide reach of cyber attack risks and threats.


By: Sheryl Smikle PhD

The CFPB Faces Challenges Internally and Externally

With the Trump administration poised to move in to the White House on January 20th regulatory changes in the financial sector are expected. However, the current controversy surrounding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has nothing to do with the President Elect. The CFPB has been under fire since its creation for having too much power over the financial sector, but not everyone feels that way. Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending, wrote an article for The Hill in defense of the bureau stating

“In its five years as an agency, the CFPB has recovered more than $11 billion for 27 million consumers harmed by illegal practices of financial institutions. The bureau has secured relief in more than 100 cases, directly putting money back in the pockets of American consumers who have been victimized by companies that refuse to follow the law.”

 But there are still many concerns regarding internal affairs at the CFPB. In the fall of 2015 three judges of the D.C Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that the CFPB’s internal structure gives too much control to current director Richard Cordray. Because of this purported imbalance of power, the court labeled the CFPB as unconstitutional, and 103 million dollars of a 6 million dollar fine against PHH (a financial services company) was vacated.

Consequently, the CFPB has lost its autonomy and must operate as an Executive agency. This means that the President of the United States now has the authority to supervise and preside over the Director of the bureau, or remove him from the position entirely. In response, the CFPB has filed for the case to be reheard by the entire D.C Court of Appeals, rather than just three judges. It is unclear at this time how the legal battle between the CFPB and PHH will turn out, but what is clear is that when President Trump takes office he is expected to act quickly when it comes to reorganization of the CFPB. Whether you support the CFPB or not, the outcome of this case will have widely felt ramifications for the financial sector. 


By: Christine Belsuko

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.


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

  • 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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