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Reading the fine print: Ensuring your financial institution remains compliant

Jul 08, 2020
Financial Institutions

Do you subscribe to various regulatory agency publications for the financial services industry?

You probably feel inundated with data, statistics, analysis, news, policies, laws, reports and — my personal favorite — supervisory insights! Reading through the fine print of constantly evolving regulatory information in the financial services industry is a tedious, time-consuming, devilish task. Add a pandemic to the usual influx of information, and usual becomes extraordinary!   

I fully understand that the exercise of pouring through the details of regulatory language is not for everyone. Why do I subject myself to this? The reason is simple. I have learned, over a career spent in the financial services industry, that compliance with the ever-changing regulatory requirements is complicated. Guidance can be agonizingly vague. Compliance requires knowing and understanding more than just the obvious. It requires a big-picture view of the regulatory environment. It calls for a real effort to know the history, background, comments and analysis behind the final legislation. It is also important to key into what is trending and developing behind every aspect of a regulation or its accompanying guidance. It helps to be a bit of a word nerd! 

If your eyes roll to the back of your head when you see the latest multi-page Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Final Rule, or if you get a headache just thinking about the next Financial Institution Letter, you have probably adopted some shortcuts. Maybe you read the “highlights” or the “summary” information. You might rely on a trusted staff member or colleague to give you the CliffsNotes®.

You can always contact your primary regulator to ask a question. But here’s another option: Contact your Wipfli relationship executive or visit We have lots of “word nerds” like me, who study every facet of the regulations pertaining to the industry. Our industry and compliance gurus are here to help prevent you from taking an unintended misstep.

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