MERIDIAN, Miss.-Knowing the importance NCUA places on Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) training, one credit union decided to make a game out of it.

1st Mississippi FCU has turned its BSA training into a game of Jeopardy, according to Rebecca Cooper, VP-finance, BSA compliance officer. She said the game show format encourages staff to pay more attention to learning.

"For a couple years I had been standing in front of our employees with a PowerPoint at my back, looking at the audience and feeling like they were not getting it," said Cooper. "This is in-depth subject matter that requires a great deal of attention. So we looked for something fun, and the game seemed to fit and has worked. We are very happy with it."

Cooper said she knows the game is effective, because six weeks prior to the contest, after employees received training materials, she would see them quizzing each other in the mornings, preparing for the contest. "I knew they were studying the information. They were doing the work." Part of the training included employees signing into Harland Clarke's Credit Union University and reviewing the BSA segment.

Employees' dedication to learning showed on game day when CEO Frank Besecke hosted the "show" in the main branch lobby and teams hardly missed an answer. The staff of 25 were separated into six teams and played for about $800 in prizes. Cooper said the Jeopardy game improved Besecke's BSA knowledge, as well, since he had to know all the answers.

The Jeopardy game board was displayed via a media projector onto a pull-down screen. Each round had five categories: Regular Jeopardy included BSA, suspicious activity report, the PATRIOT Act, and the customer identification program. Double Jeopardy covered acronyms, name this form, fill in the blank, scenarios, and definitions. "Final Jeopardy covered a BSA timeline," explained Cooper. "We asked employees when certain components of BSA became law."

"This year I asked staff what they wanted to do, play the game again or go back to the standard training," said Cooper. "Overwhelmingly they said they wanted the game. I think they'll ask for it back next year. We have fun with it and learn a lot."

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