Compliance Rules! A New Attitude on Compliance Training

Tracy Blaske & Melisa Kallestad, Instructional Design Managers, Credit Union National Associationby: Tracy Blaske & Melisa Kallestad, Instructional Design Managers, Credit Union National Association

Does your staff cringe at the thought of annual compliance training?  Let’s face it, unless you’re a compliance junkie, learning about the latest regulations can be agonizing.  As former credit union compliance trainers we understand the challenges faced with content intense subject matter, tight schedules and low attention spans.

Compliance training is required. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Regulations provide endless subject matter and big opportunity to blend and diversify curriculums and there are always new ways to deliver compliance content.

Here are a few tips we hope will spark new ideas and energize your next compliance training session.

  • You can take almost any popular game, copy the theme and build a compliance course around it.  At our credit union we built a compliance game modeled after the “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” game show.  In full character, complete with little silver brief cases (plastic pencil cases spray painted metallic gray), we brought fun into the compliance arena.  The staffer chosen as the contestant selected a team to consult with and had to answer compliance questions with every case chosen.  She actually won (not planned) and was holding the $1M case in the end.  We allowed $1M to sit in her account for one day and she got to keep the accrued interest!  The challenge is always in finding new ways to capture the interest of the learner.  By tying the content to something trendy you’ve increased your chances for success.
  • Break content up into smaller chunks and cut out all the extra material. Deliver your cleaned up content with a blended approach.  For example, create a one page compliance fundamentals data sheet  as a pre-session reading assignment,  build-in interactive case studies during the session, add online components that compliment and strengthen your material, utilize YouTube videos, or build your own pre-recordings  to accommodate different learning styles.
  • The content has to be ‘learner centered.’ In other words, it has to be “all about me.”   Tie the content to a real world applications that the learner can connect with on the job.   Don’t just tell them to file a CTR/SAR, tell them what it might mean if they do.  For example, go to FinCEN’s website and use a success story like “officers in Louisiana arrested more than 20 people in a multi-state cocaine distribution network because of the connections they were able to make with CTR/SAR filings of small, local institutions”.
  • Spread the love….  The endless subject matter can be overwhelming.  Recruit your brightest employees to help you teach your staff.  Give them a specific compliance topic to research.  Let them provide a summary, build a training plan and deliver.  They take ownership and become ‘the expert’ on the topic.  It is a win for you and it is a developmental win for them.
  • Retention of all things regulatory is impossible.  Always provide resources to reference when learners are back on the job.  Job aids such as checklists, scripts, decision trees, or information portals are extremely effective.
  • Take advantage of free technology to freshen your curriculums.  Virtual classrooms such as wikispaces are great for pulling groups together , collaborating, or centralizing files.   Create your own online course with tools such as  Screen recorders such as provide an easy way to integrate screen shots for technical training.  Add music or edit audio with, or   These free tools are relatively simple to work with and add a great deal of value to your training efforts.
  • Finally, build recognition into your curriculums.  Compliance training is difficult.  Recognition of successful completion validates the importance of the training and gives the learner reward for the effort.

Tracy Blaske & Melisa Kallestad are Instructional Design Managers at Credit Union National Association.  With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves 90 percent of America’s 7,400 state and federally chartered credit unions, which are owned by nearly 93 million consumer members. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life.  For more information about CUNA, visit or the CUNAverse blog and follow @CUNAverse on Twitter.  For more information about credit unions, visit and follow @asmarterchoice on Twitter.

Tracy Blaske

Tracy Blaske

Tracy Blaske is an Instructional Design Manager at Credit Union National Association. With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves 90 percent of ... Web: Details