Fast and Furious Regulatory Environment will Challenge CUs

Rick Uhlmann

Michelle Larson

NEW ORLEANS — The pace, complexity and timing of today’s regulatory changes are unprecedented and will require credit unions to rethink the way they do business, a CUNA Mutual Group compliance expert said Tuesday.

Bill Klewin, lending compliance leader, CUNA Mutual, outlined a myriad of current and pending regulatory issues to attendees of the 17th annual CUNA Lending Council Annual Conference that will tax staff, be expensive and potentially have a negative impact on the way credit unions serve members.

“The regulations, coupled with the effect of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), will impact all areas of a credit union’s operation, including debit and credit cards, home equity and consumer loans, tellers, the way you process mortgage loans, H.R. compensation plans and auditing, to name a few,”  Klewin said.

Klewin said it isn’t clear yet what approach the CFPB will take but it appears the agency is data driven. “They may take a disclosure or change in a rule and take it to the people affected to determine a course,” Klewin said. “It’s a remarkably different approach and the old way of doing disclosures may go right out the window. It may make sense but it would be very foreign to how credit unions and regulators are accustomed to operating.”

He encouraged credit unions to make use of the comment-period process and called it a “meaningful opportunity to have influence as regulators do read the material. “It’s an opportunity for your voice to be heard on proposed rules, so credit unions should exercise their democratic right and speak up.”

Now more than ever, credit unions won’t be able to just spend time on compliance, they’ll need to maintain a sharp focus on it, Klewin added. He stressed the importance of having a person in the credit union accountable to compliance issues. “Your compliance person isn’t the most loved person in the organization so it’s important that they report at a certain level and not be subject to influence by business areas of the credit union.”

A key to making this position effective is finding a quality staff capable of handling complicated compliance issues. Klewin said staff in this area of the business must be sophisticated and knowledgeable and must be good at everything they need to do.  “You can build, buy or rent for this important position. One, you can take someone from within your organization and give them the training and tools to be good at it, or you can go out and buy someone with a proven track record of compliance expertise, but that can be expensive,” he said.

Another alternative is to outsource some of the work, like your documents business, Klewin added. “You can put it in the hands of a provider that’s been in the business and knows the regs. It can take a huge burden off your shoulders.”

“The bottom line on this is we’re operating in a new world, where you have to think of compliance organizationally, because it will affect almost every aspect of your business,” Klewin said. “The pace of new regulations is daunting. Not only will credit unions be challenged but regulators will be, too.”

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s Web site at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name of CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, its affiliates and subsidiaries, including CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc.  Product availability and features may vary by jurisdiction and are subject to actual policy language. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.


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