GUEST BLOG POST | I’m thrilled to once again host guest blogger, Shelly Loftin, a career bank marketer and SVP, Retail Banking, Payments, and Lending at the American Banking Association, on the blog this week as she shares with us bank marketers a few inside tricks on getting along with compliance!
The relationship between marketing and compliance in banking has a storied history. And while it may not exactly be as contentious as the Hatfields and the McCoys, it isn’t often compared to Charlie’s Angels either. The truth is that both professions have gotten increasingly challenging and this has been known to lead to polarizing views within an organization. This isn’t news to anyone. Marketing has a cool new product and promotion they want to get rolled out as quickly as possible to reach revenue goals and they hold off bringing in the compliance team until the last minute. Instead of FOMO (fear of missing out) like everyone discusses these days, it’s FOCFO (say that as individual letters please, not one word, and it stands for fear of compliance finding out), so we just don’t talk. Then it’s time to launch and compliance has to be the bad guy (or girl). Your sweepstakes isn’t setup right, the disclosures aren’t formatted properly or we really can’t just offer this super cool thing to a few people with internet access who subscribe to Architectural Digest, drink Pinot Noir, collect art and watch CSPAN while disregarding the rest of the population. The marketer is left deflated, frustrated and with the false narrative in his or her head that compliance enjoyed every minute of it. You can almost hear the evil laugh from the compliance officer now (muah-ha-ha-ha).
But this isn’t true. This is the story that we marketers sometimes tell ourselves to make the disappointment easier. The truth is we avoided bringing our colleagues in earlier because we thought they wouldn’t understand. And while they might not all understand, I know several of them would – because I have worked with those compliance collaborators. Before you embark on your next marketing adventure, make sure you have given your compliance collaborator a chance. In conversations with several experiences compliance professionals at the American Bankers Association Risk & Compliance conference a few weeks back, I heard the same common themes as we discussed their roles within their financial institutions and how to improve their relationships within their organizations. The list was then summarized to reveal the five things your bank compliance team members want you to know.
- We can help. Goals, objectives, directives or whatever you call your target achievements, we get it. We want to help you reach your goals while staying in between the ditches. What is best for the organization as a whole, including reaching profitability goals, is important to us too. But we are also going to make sure we do it without breaking any rules. The balance between creativity and compliance is a strength for our organization, so help us make sure it’s not a weakness. If we can’t open the doors because of a violation that could have easily been prevented — the creativity originally deployed doesn’t get to serve it’s purpose either.
- Bring us in early and often. People get behind initiatives where they understand the why. Compliance people are no different. Bring us in early to strategic discussions so we understand the context and can help brainstorm. This allows us to hear your ideas, understand the objectives and help you develop tactics that don’t break any rules. You eliminate the perception of us just saying “no” to your idea because we are allowed to help you brainstorm a better solution from the beginning. The more we know, the more we can help. Test us. We can take it. Include us from start to finish in the development of an idea, promotion or product to reach a strategic goal and the process will go faster and smoother with us working with you rather than behind you.
- We have backup. You may stereotype us as quiet, introverted or timid, but we are actually armed with a network of resources that are valuable to our organization. Bankers think of lenders, marketers or business developers as the well-connected ones, but we have a few resources ourselves. Whether it’s discussing regulatory changes, exploring banking cannabis, a new product idea or the do’s and don’t of digital targeting – we know people. The compliance community is strong, diverse and helpful, so just ask us. The National Conversation on Compliance just took place in Nashville in June and there were over 2000 compliance professionals there – how many of you were at your last conference? To have access to our network, it would benefit you to take #1 & #2 to heart.
- Our careers have the same challenges. Regulation, artificial intelligence, big data, omnichannel, social media, branch transformation, fin-tech, mansplaining, reg-tech, mar-tech and all those other acronyms. CRCM, CFMP, PMP, SHRM & GOAT (just kidding on that one), are all designed to showcase to our peers we have a level of education in our increasingly complex fields. It takes all of us to make sure that we navigate these waters properly and come out stronger on the other side. And the faster we navigate these challenges together, the more of an advantage we provide to our banks which will translate into more career opportunities for us. So let’s keep an open dialogue all the time because both of our chosen career paths have grown to encompass more than we could have imagined.
- We are creative. We know our rules, but we see a lot of things. Ask our opinion. You might be surprised how we could tighten up some of your copy, suggest a design tweak or two that would improve the customer experience exponentially, or adjust the way a change needs to happen to lessen the negative impact on the consumer. Compliance, customer service & marketing go hand-in-hand and I want to make sure we put our best marketing foot forward. We are always willing to help, but it means a lot when you respect our opinion enough to ask for our advice on others areas too.We also owe it to our organizations and our careers to ask ourselves how we can better understand our Compliance coworkers. There are several options available to educate us on compliance and how our compliance team members are looking at any given issue. Help your partners in compliance help you through education and challenging yourself to improve your relationship. There are A LOT of great educational options available through the American Bankers Association and your Compliance Officer would be happy to point you in the right direction.
BONUS DISCLOSURE: (We can’t have a piece on compliance without fine print!) We are fun. Everyone insinuates we might not be a lot of fun. They may not just come out and say it (although some do), but we can hear it and feel the slight sting of not being perceived as not the coolest cats in the bank. Diversity of thought is what matters and our skill-sets speak for themselves, however, we are fun. Now, it may be that we have plenty of fun and still show up the next morning because we are responsible with both our time and our resources, but it is still, nonetheless, fun. Not to mention smart, so maybe you should take a lesson from us instead of the other way around? Anyway, banking would be more fun for all of us if we work well together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Shelly Loftin
Shelly is a career banker, currently serving as SVP, Retail Banking, Payments, and Lending at the American Banking Association. She lives in a world of branding, banking, and boys (she’s a boy mom!) and believes banking and education should be fun. She is a cultivator of member happiness, passionate about improving the experience banking business, a brand ambassador, training enthusiast, conference concierge, design fanatic, team builder and infographic nerd, Covey facilitator, creative collaborator, culture advocate, professional learner and happiness sharer. She claims to “kind of” be a millennial and loves solving problems collaboratively as her preferred way to work.