The financial and operational impact of escalating regulatory requirements is being felt by credit unions across the country. Many are struggling to put plans and systems in place to meet these growing demands, which can exact high operational costs in addition to increasing the risks of fines, penalties and other costs associated with non-compliance. This is especially true for credit unions that do not have a plan or secure document management system in place to address these needs.
The pace of regulatory change, combined with the ongoing demands for audited financial information and the broadening scope of credit union examinations presents challenges which can strain your institution’s resources significantly. This is why it is imperative for credit unions to have both a strategic compliance plan and the right tools to support its requirements such as systematic and streamlined audit trails and examination workflows.
Given the volume and sensitive nature of the documentation required to maintain adequate audit trails and to satisfy the documentation needs of examiners, a key component of any credit union compliance workflow must include the implementation and use of a secure, cloud-based document management system (DMS).
The following checklist for implementing a compliance-based document management strategy using an appropriate DMS will help you centrally coordinate the audit and exam activities of your credit union across its key functional areas and all relevant stakeholders, regardless of their location. When you have each of the following capabilities in place, your credit union will be able to efficiently manage its compliance requirements specific to audits and examinations:
- Create a customized, centralized repository where all documents needed for audits and exams are safely and securely stored in the cloud.
- Organize and securely share documents that must be released to examiners and regulators for review.
- Facilitate communication with auditors and examiners while allowing your credit union’s third-party affiliates (such as accounting firms and board members) to access and exchange information on an as-needed basis.
- Maintain controlled access to key audit and exam documents through password-protected accounts and folders, two-factor authentication, and NCUA compliant security standards including static and migratory data encryption.
- Keep real-time records of access, review and editing of all documents and files provided in response to audits, exams and other compliance requests.
- Provide e-signature capabilities for remote sign-off on key regulatory reports and legal documentation by regulators, credit union executives and board members as well as other credit union stakeholders.
Using the checklist above can help you identify any additional needs or challenges your credit union may have in order to efficiently manage the documentation and information sharing and security protocols necessary for compliant audit trails and streamlined exam workflows.
A cloud-based document management system such as SmartVault that fulfills all of the above requirements should form the foundation of your credit union’s strategic compliance plan, helping your institution simplify processes in all areas where required documentation must be organized, secured and shared using methods that conform with National Credit Union Association security guidelines. Putting this best practice in place will also ensure that sensitive financial and personal information is secured at the highest level possible, and reduce the operational, financial and other costs associated with your credit union’s compliance requirements.