SANFORD, Maine-BSA compliance was out of reach for York County FCU here-the process was so "overwhelming" that some activities fell through the cracks, said Peggy Gilman, VP-operations at the $190-million CU.
"We did everything manually," based on a Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) policy template purchased online, Gilman explained. "I was following an FFIEC manual and hoping I got it right. I spent a week every year preparing and reviewing the policy and then following up with staff to make sure each task was accomplished. Compliance was almost like a line of business for us."
BSA compliance is now largely automated at York County FCU and takes less than three days, she said. In May, the CU began organizing, tracking and updating its policies online using Continuity Control's BSA Compliance Application, which is delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Control delivers an approximately 80% reduction in BSA compliance-related costs to York County FCU, said Gilman.
One of the best things about Control is how it makes BSA tasks clear, Gilman suggested. Each compliance activity is entered as a "ToDo" task. The ToDo list acts as the user interface in Control and automates the compliance procedures.
For example, ToDo sends e-mails at the appropriate times throughout the year to the right people, reminding them when to review a report and attaching supporting documents and screenshots. "We don't have to run around at the end of the year trying to get everything done at the last minute," Gilman said.
The software makes it easy to track whether people are completing their ToDos, said Andy Greenawalt, founder and CEO of Continuity Control. "Nothing is invisible in Control. If you don't do it, you'll show up as an exception."
The Control dashboard contains a graphic status meter near the ToDo list, indicating the percentage of compliance achieved so that Gilman can monitor progress. Gilman said she can prove compliance to auditors by showing them the dashboard and attached documents.
"In previous audits, there was a lot of back and forth between the auditor and me using a combination of file types, with the majority of the files being paper," Gilman added. "Control puts everything in one place."
York County FCU uses Control as part of the vendor's Compliance Assistant Program, which gives the CU 'round-the-clock access to Continuity Control's compliance experts as well as credits toward 12 additional compliance applications.
Gilman said she plans to activate the entire suite of nearly 40 Control applications, which range from loan collections and responding to robberies to data backup scheduling. Four applications are priorities for York County FCU in 2011: the Vendor Management, Website Compliance Auditor, Social Media Policy and Compliance Training applications.
Experts with the Compliance Assistant Program helped York County FCU set up Control to automate CTR procedures, ID verification reviews and SAR preparation by making assignments to key personnel under a manageable schedule, Gilman continued.
"We are economical, so we help institutions focus on real risks that can be regulated by controls," said Greenawalt. "We help them stop viewing compliance as fire-after-fire to put out." Too often, generic policies contain excessive risk parameters that make credit union compliance unnecessarily burdensome, he added.
The breadth and depth of compliance applications makes Control an "all-in-one" piece of software, he said. "Automating your compliance one area at a time isn't really a savings. You need one platform to do everything and do it consistently."