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Making Compliance Cool

December 17, 2020 2:00 pm View Recording

Yes, it’s possible. Compliance teams have had to adapt to more change and newer processes this past year, creating an opportunity to help redefine its perception. In this webinar, we’ll help you understand how to dispel frustrations surrounding marketing initiatives and how to keep current with content approval and privacy regulations. Best of all, this discussion will provide deep insights into how to turn compliance into the rock stars of your financial brand.

You won’t want to miss it as we’ll go over:

  • Common hurdles preventing compliance efficiency
  • How to better integrate marketing and compliance teams
  • Strategies to build a culture of cooperation and comradery
  • Best practices for compliance teams heading into 2021

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Ben Pankonin 0:10
Well, welcome to a social bank webinar, we are going to be talking about making compliance. Cool. Today, I am joined with a wonderful guest. Many of you may know him, he’s he’s made the rounds in a number of banking, education presentations, webinars, and I am joined with Charles, the fed from fidelity bank. Charles, welcome to the webinar. Thanks, Ben. It’s a pleasure. Well, I’m really excited to get to, to share with our guests, as we marketed this, we talked about, you know, making compliance. Cool. And we talked about this from the sense of saying, hey, how do we think about, you know, marketing and compliance, and there’s a lot of preconceived notions that we have around compliance compliance officers. And and I think, really, what we want to do is shaped that conversation, as indicated by your title, I think this is one of the things that we want to think about is that you were a former compliance officer. And now your title is CEO, and chief experience officer, is

Charles Lefevre 1:36
that right? Right. That’s correct. It’s a crazy transition. But

Ben Pankonin 1:40
a fun one. Yeah. Awesome. Well, I think that starts to shape some of the conversation that we’re going to have today. So, you know, before we get to that, I kind of wanted to share a little bit of some of how we think about, you know, compliance and marketing together. And, and I know you’ve shared this a number of times at ABA and some of the other presentations, but to share a little bit of the way that you introduce new employees to compliance at fidelity bank, I thought was worth sharing. And I think sets up well, since all of us can kind of be welcomed, bring us in, like a new employee, to fidelity bank, maybe all of us can experience a little bit of that.

Charles Lefevre 2:33
That’s great. Yeah, the our, our video, which we showed when I was a compliance officer, was is an animated version of myself kind of going through what it’s like what we think compliance is like at fidelity, which is, hopefully, how every bank thinks of it. But ultimately, we think it’s a little bit unique. So it talks more about the way we work right, so excited for you to share it.

Ben Pankonin 2:57
Cool. We’ll go ahead and roll that. Hi,

Charles Lefevre 3:09
I’m Charles welfares, fidelity bass compliance officer. Today, we’re going to discuss compliance. Put simply, compliance is all about the way we work and following the rules. It’s about doing the right thing, not just what you can get away with. Many people see compliance as a boring set of boxes that need to be checked when conducting a transaction, or the red tape that stops them from launching a new product. But having a compliant track record actually gives fidelity a serious competitive edge. Not only does it mean that fidelity avoids financial penalties, enforcement actions, and negative media attention. More importantly, people like doing business with a company they can trust. There are many different rules and regs that we must follow in our day to day work. For example, when we market our products, we have to think about advertising and trade regulations, including fair lending laws. And when processing loans and opening new deposit accounts, we stick to the rules. We take care of customer data, like how we collect and use it and who can access it. We are committed to treating all people equally and have zero tolerance for any acts of discrimination. Getting compliance wrong can also be very expensive. Once a company suffers damage to its reputation, it can take years to earn back the trust of clients and the public. It really does pay to be the good guy. Take a look at our compliance policy manual employee code of conduct in your department’s procedures. These guides are designed to help you follow the rules. In addition, our core values outline how everyone who works for fidelity should act in order to achieve our mission of being here for good. And remember, compliance doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re here to help. With a full service compliance team. We have every complicated situation covered Let’s work together to make compliant working the business differentiation that drives customers to our back. Because at fidelity, we’re here for good.

Ben Pankonin 5:17
Awesome. So, Charles, that is not, I believe the typical introduction to compliance. Tell us a little bit about the thoughts of going through that. And how you set up some of the messaging to employees around compliance. When you set that up, as a compliance officer,

Charles Lefevre 5:41
you don’t know I think, to be brutally honest, it happened out of efficiency that I was feeling like, Hey, I really want to attend every new hire training, but I knew I couldn’t physically do it. So ultimately, the goal was, how can how can I have this message haven’t been the same one, be consistent. But make sure that I’m there, whether I’m not there, or I am there. I will say when I was developing it, I should be showing it to my family. My one of my in laws quickly said Why did you make that guy better looking than you want to have everybody have this better, much better perception of compliance that the reality was but you know, I think that the the messaging there really holds true to what we were trying to do at fidelity that the exercise was, how do we not hit all new hires with a bunch of terrible? all the rules, all the ways that you’re going to get fired? Right at once? And how can we intersperse it? Or make it really welcoming? And so that was the goal, right? How can we make this welcoming? Because after that, you’re probably going to get hit with every BSA regulation and Data Security Rule that we do have. But how do I lead into it in a much better way? Because we’re doing all of this Not, not necessarily just because there’s a rule, or reg Bob behind it, but we’re doing it because we want to make sure that every customer which we call clients, every client has a fantastic experience with the bank.

Ben Pankonin 7:10
Yeah, you know, I think of years ago, I built a compliance software tool, to not not social assurance tool, but I actually built one to, to actually measure a lot of compliance, retention from tests. And it was really interesting working through that process, because one of the things we talked about over and over again, was fatigue, and all of our employee fatigue, that is experiencing a lot of these compliance regulations and education and things. And, you know, I think it points to it, the way that you were developing an experience in compliance really lends itself to where you are now, I’d love to think about how you felt that experience was something you were crafting as a compliance officer. Yeah,

Charles Lefevre 8:02
it’s you have the CMS right, of compliance management system elements, you know, I’m a former regulator. So everything goes back to what’s what, what does that look like from a regulatory perspective, but a lot of that hinges back on its consumer compliance. You know, the Department of the FDIC that I worked for was the division of consumer protection, right. So when we take it back, there is real world impact these rules came into place for reason that impacts customers. And piece of that CMS is as every compliance officer and hopefully every banker knows his customer complaints. So one of the initial initial thought processes behind all this was, how can we turn those around into opportunities, rather than just trying to beat everybody up about everything that they did wrong? Because that’s, that’s a bad experience internally. The client doesn’t necessarily want to hear all the bad things, right. We know, when we go to a restaurant, we don’t get our food delivered on time. The last thing that we want to hear is Oh, the kitchens behind, right. That’s not the right experience when handling a customer complaint either. So it was really this this beginning thought process of how can we turn this to make sure that we’re doing the best thing for our clients as well as the bank? Because compliance is not the regulator, the compliance is the base the business enabler?

Ben Pankonin 9:24
Yeah, I think that’s a wonderful example, to start thinking of yourself as a business enabler in that process. So let’s back up a little bit. We’ve sort of outlined. You know, Charles, you’ve had a very different approach to compliance. Where did that come from? What was your introduction to banking? How did you get involved in banking?

Charles Lefevre 9:47
Yeah, so I’ve, I worked as it was my dream job. In college. I was worked at a a chain sandwich restaurant and I’ve been I opened my first bank account at a big bank. And I thought, Man, this would be a great job being a teller at a bank. And so I applied at at big bank and became a teller. And it was great. We were acquired with a from a big by bigger bank and became that bigger bank. And I loved every minute of it. And but honestly, I’ve transitioned into more compliance related roles, because one of the tellers that I worked with said, Hey, this other institutions hiring this back off, but they thought it was a teller position, you should go apply for it, I think you’d be really good for good at it. And sure enough, it wasn’t like a vault teller position, it was actually a back office position, which then grew into compliance related roles for me in my career, which which was exciting, right? still in college and working at a bank and at a financial institution and doing some pretty cool stuff.

Ben Pankonin 10:57
That’s awesome. So so you, you got into the banking world, from from the teller position. Out of creating sandwiches. Were you an artist in the sandwich creation? This is what an artist I was an artist you work at heart. Okay. Okay, I got I got I got the picture. Now. It’s so so you moved into into banking and then went to work for as a regulator? Yeah, from there

Charles Lefevre 11:28
grew grew up through a little bit through compliance. And there’s an opportunity at our local Field Office for a compliance examiner, and, man, what a whirlwind being going from banking into the regulatory world. And just the, the difference there. And honestly, I thought I was a good compliance officer, before I work for the FDIC. And I quickly realized how terrible I probably was on what I needed to know. But needless to say, it was a fantastic learning experience that that sent the really set the foundation of how I think I started to think about compliance as more than just rules. How could How could I, as a regulator, as an examiner, help banks, and identify real solutions on how to address these things, not just say, it’s wrong, let me write it up. So taking that approach as an examiner, and then moving back into banking, with it is, you know, really were focused on it’s all about the customer, it’s all about the consumer at the end of the day.

Ben Pankonin 12:37
So, so when you think about that role of the consumer, and obviously, compliance officer has a very different kind of role that touches all areas of the bank. Oh. And, you know, I even I was pitching this webinar to somebody earlier today. We were on a call and I said, you need to be on this webinar happened to be a marketing person, right? And I said, No, you know, you need to be on this webinar. And I said, because we’re going to talk about all of the aspects here, we’re going to talk not just about how a compliance officer functions in that role, but how it touches the other roles, and how, how those are impacted. What What have you seen work well, in this relationship between marketing and compliance, in particular,

Charles Lefevre 13:35
you have to be friends, you know, for for our bank for fidelity. We’re a heavy marketing institution. We’re retail focused. I know a lot of banks that I worked for previously, they were commercial focus. So it created this different risk profile that really necessitated compliance and marketing, not just living on the peripheries of each other and having these these incidental interactions that I had to make sure that I built a fantastic relationship with our chief marketing officer to understand what really her objectives were, so I can best support her and what she was trying to accomplish. You know, I think that’s that stakeholder management, whether it’s marketing or any operational or other other area that you’re dealing with this compliance

Ben Pankonin 14:21

Charles Lefevre 14:23
That’s key. understanding where someone’s coming from their struggle, what they’re trying to achieve, and how you can build your strategy around that. That’s all of our roles in banking right there. There really are no silos even as if we tried to build them or not. They have to be knocked down, because we’re all trying to accomplish a similar in some goal that they said at the institution level.

Ben Pankonin 14:50
So I noticed you said this at the, you know, even in the video, there were at least three times where you were referenced what fidelity, what fidelity bank is about. And that tagline of here for good, was something that you were emphasizing multiple times repeatedly throughout the compliance webinar. Can you talk about how that permeated that? Even the compliance conversation?

Charles Lefevre 15:22
Yeah, yeah, I mean, here here for good is, is our mission. Quick those those three words. And it literally is in the building that a man we have a sign when you walk in here for good, it’s everywhere, in everything that we do. And it means a lot to us. So we’re, we’re mutual, which is a little bit different from a structure perspective. You know, we’re we’re old Savings Bank. So that literally means that our customers are our client, our members are our shareholders. So being here for good for us means that it’s a philanthropic effort, right, that we are here for the community, we’re here to do good things in the community. And we’re also 112 year old institution that we are here to stay as long as as long as our shareholders will have us. But we’re here to say from a longevity perspective, that it means mean, it has to mean a lot to everybody that works here. And because we’re not just pushing paper, we’re not just creating products to create profits, we are doing things. And our entire business is geared to making sure that our community has what they need to satisfy their financial needs. And that’s a good that we do, right? That’s a good that we do. So it has to be important, not to the salesperson, not just to the sales person to the frontline, you know, not just to executives, everyone all the way through, has to really believe in what we’re doing for the for the mission to be to be realized.

Ben Pankonin 16:55
Yeah, so as you think about 112 year old institution that has that is here for good, that has a marketing department that wants to market those things aggressively. And quickly. How, how does compliance and marketing work because to to make sure that that speed is still a component of marketing, but yet, but yet compliance? Oftentimes we have that resistance between the two of us one wants to go fast, and one wants to slow things down. How do you manage that? Yeah.

Charles Lefevre 17:34
clear and transparent expectations. So one of the first things that I did when I came on board is we set up a help desk function for compliance. So we can actually track and measure our SL O’s, our service level obligations between us and our partner, business lines, and areas that to make sure that we were living up to this expectation. So those expectations, were actually set in strategy that we created a compliance strategy that said, we need fast results. So aside from our mission of being here, for good, we also have a service standard of simple, easy, fast. So if we want fast results, and we all we’re all living by the service standards, we define them, we said, You know what, we’re going to 80% of the time answer every marketing request and have an approval within three days within three business days. And we measured it, we monitored, monitored it, and we made sure we were all living by it 80% of the time, because we’re still human. So in really our current compliance officer Dena veal, you know, shout out to her, she’s taking it to the next level in and put in additional systems to make sure that she’s tracking and monitoring these things, too. So we it doesn’t stop because things continue to accelerate. Even from five years ago, when I joined a fidelity or join fidelity today, things just keep getting faster and faster, including our expectations on delivery.

Ben Pankonin 19:03
Yeah, what have you noticed this shift we’ve seen and been a part of a lot of those conversations over the last, you know, nine months or so of the acceleration of expectations, because, you know, simply products and solutions that we thought would have taken another year to three years to get implemented all of a sudden got implemented in weeks. How did you navigate some of those experiences? Yeah.

Charles Lefevre 19:36
You know, when we, when we started our stay at home and, and made a lot of the changes that we were facing back in March. You know, it, it did require us, for best example, we had on the roadmap that we were going to get scheduling out for clients to have to schedule appointments with our our front line, you know, by the end of 2020 Well, it has And over overnight, surprised that we had to implement these things, and had to make sure that we were you know, that’s a less compliance heavy example. But that was happening every single day. And the only way that it happened was making sure that we were having regular conversation. So our management team, really everybody on a, on a daily basis in the beginning, was getting together and having daily stand ups on what’s going on who needs to get together, who needs to push, you know, whatever the next thing is forward, to make sure that we were delivering on what we needed to deliver on, because some of them weren’t as easy as scheduling. Right. Which, which is easy, but complex, from an IT perspective. Some of them were much harder, like deferrals and forbearances, that clients were needing, because they were they were keep losing their jobs. And, you know, just their lives were being impacted, especially in a high tourism area, like New Orleans, where we operate, we needed to deliver those fast. And it was with a lot of partnership, and a lot of making sure that we all were doing okay, on a regular basis to get those things done quickly.

Ben Pankonin 21:13
Right, right. So, you know, you, you and I have chatted a little bit about, you know, some of that acceleration. And one of the things that happens, you know, we experience it in our organization, and every organization experiences, this sort of delegation aspect that happens all the time, especially with marketing and advertising, where we’re sort of I’m pushing something, and someone has to do another part. And we have these sort of handoffs all the time, and, and you had some different ways that you were describing how that was handled, at your bank that I thought were really interesting.

Charles Lefevre 21:53
Well, you’re gonna have to, you’re gonna have to refresh my memory on the interesting ones. But, you know, we, it’s, it’s definitely a different group, that that we have, I think that we we truly care for each other, too, which is a big difference. And that’s through a lot of camaraderie. But, you know, compliance, in marketing traditionally, here have really been, in many ways trying to pull and push on each other, to make sure that we’re doing the right thing. You know, I think that that’s been one of the bigger benefits. But I’m interested in what you thought was interesting.

Ben Pankonin 22:35
Well, so one of the things you mentioned to me the other day, when we were talking that I thought was a great line, we have some different ways we describe it internally. But you said we have a mantra of no punting. And I thought that was an interesting sort of analogy to use with within an organization like that.

Charles Lefevre 22:56
Yeah. So that that came out of identifying that things weren’t happening, right. So it would we get to a point and it would never cross the finish line. And we would live someone would punt. And so it was literally in a strategic planning session that we said, you know, what, no, there’s no more punting. And it was a constant reminder, right, that push and pull that constant reminder to each other to say, you know, we can’t punt these things, we have to move these things forward. I can’t say we don’t say it as much today as we used to, which is a good feeling. Because I think that from an ownership perspective, which is really important between any group but especially compliance and marketing, from an ownership perspective, we’re owning things more, right? When we get handed the ball, we’re delivering it on a consistent basis. But it took it honestly took reminding each other with that mantra of no punting for a good while to get to the point that we’re at

Ben Pankonin 23:55
it the other one you talked about was this concept that sometimes we have to kind of restart it, right. Like sometimes we have to, like, go back and realize, well, let’s question everything about what didn’t work. And I think, you know, me sort of coming from the startup technology world into banking, you know, startup sort of have these mantras like, let’s move fast break stuff, well, well, there’s certain things really can’t break right compliance happens to be one of them. So how do you how do you navigate that concept of being able to just restart over on things? Yeah, so we do look at things in fresh ways and try to blow it up and start it over again. And and I know we’re compliance and today and I hope and no one from HR is listening to this but on an annual basis at about this time, I will will tell staff, you know, you’re fired. You know,

Charles Lefevre 24:59
as a reminder To say, I’m rehiring the new you the person that you want it to be to that all those things that you wanted to change that you did wrong before, now’s the opportunity to do it. So taking that fresh approach is always is always available to us in blowing it up and starting over again. It’s there’s a lot of things that I know that I did wrong, and I do wrong that I wish I could change it right. So why wish when you have the opportunity every single day to say, let’s stop, you know what, I really don’t like the way that our esign process is. And I compliance officer, right? I’m the one who said that this is how we should do it. You know what, I don’t think that that’s right, there’s a lot of gray area here. Let’s go back and reevaluate it. One of the things that I know that I can definitely say was reviews, right? So reviews when I started was on let’s let’s not, let’s not allow reviews on our website, or any of our social media, all it is is fair lending, you know, minefield, that people are going to post all these things to be terrible. We’re going to get you dap accusations, all of this. Fast forward to today, where reviews are what we what we, you know, really live and breathe by that we know that a consumer is one and a half times more likely to choose a product if there’s a review associated with it. That took a lot of, hey, let’s stop from compliance marketing everybody, let’s stop, let’s rethink this, and how can we do it in a better way to get better results? To make sure the client that really the consumers and our clients know that we’re delivering on the things that we’re talking about? people really like banking here that’s important for us and for our potential customers to know.

Ben Pankonin 26:45
What was the moment that reviews really turned the corner for you? And you said, Hey, like we need to, we need to actually think differently about reviews.

Charles Lefevre 26:56
Yeah, so I credit that 100%, our marketing officer Tammy O’Shea, in saying that, hey, this is really important. And it was through, it was through a lot of research that we were doing, including some voices of the client work that we were we were undertaking to talk to our clients and say, Hey, what’s going on? And the small group discussions where we gathered and gained some of this information. We vetted it against research, and said, Hey, what are other people experiencing? Is this small group accurate? And on those things that we identified as Yeah, this is a real thing, we need to go back and re evaluate it. You know, Tammy, Tammy pushed hard for that. And she’s been absolutely right.

Ben Pankonin 27:42
Yeah, you know, obviously, we spend a lot of time with reviews and watching how those interactions work. And, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s easy when you are a consumer to sort of, you know, buy something on Amazon and value a review. But then when you’re the vendor who’s getting reviewed a lot of times you want to say, could I just turn these off? and not have to deal with all of that? And, yeah, I think people often underestimate how challenging reviews are.

Charles Lefevre 28:17
Yeah, look, it’s, it’s something that we talk about a lot, too. And it’s challenging to respond to challenging to understand that you know, what there is value in negative reviews, because it helps us get better. Ultimately, there are things that I think we can all say, we had no idea that it was something was going on, that really a review opened our eyes to it, you know, any type of customer complaint, I think is is a fresh start for everybody to say, people having a problem with this, whether it’s a technical problem or perception, it’s an opportunity to make a change to do either to do it the right way, or to do it in a re envisioned way. That is better for everybody. Probably most of the time when we do that it’s better for the bank to better for our bankers better for our staff or associates.

Ben Pankonin 29:07
You know, I didn’t share this story with you before. But one of the things that I use in training with some of our staff is I pick out a couple banks that I know have the exact same mobile app. And I’ll go ask a new employee, which of these two banks do you think has a better mobile app? And so it’s a really interesting process to watch them review those, and they go to the reviews. And then they might go to the way that the bank messages about the mobile app. And then they’ll usually say, well, I’ve only had one employee say, this is the same mobile app. I think you’re asking me a trick question. Because realistically, you know, we make those value judgments based on the reviews and the way that it’s communicated. So Yeah, I think I think it’s great the way you guys are really leaning into that. You know, you, you referenced this a few times about the business enabler part of compliance. But we don’t always talk about that, right? A lot of times, you know, from the marketing side, a message is sort of sent over, often without a business justification. But there’s sort of an advertising message maybe or you something that’s driven by marketing or sales that says, here’s what we’d like to be promoting. How do you begin to uncover what the business driver is behind those? Yeah,

Charles Lefevre 30:46
looking at, we would say this a lot to compliance is the best place to especially at small banks to breed project managers. Right. So a project manager is going to be looking for a business case, and then some sort of analysis. Same thing for the compliance officer, right, compliance is should be looking for, what are the risks? So what are the benefits as well, to make sure that we’re all aligned and doing the right thing? You know, I think aside from just being the pusher to say, look, help me understand this right. Marketing, who, you know, we all know, it hates making a business case for things. So pushing that ball forward, I think is a substantial benefit. But I think it’s also seeing opportunities on the periphery. So things that we all know that that many compliance officers or compliance groups hates, or pre qualifications or pre approvals in the mortgage industry. But but we’ve had our compliance staff say, you know, what we haven’t we have not done this ourselves yet. But they’ve said, there’s value a competitive advantage if we were to take this because nobody’s doing it because everybody’s scared of it from a compliance perspective, if we were able to turn this into something who were actually doing, it may be a competitive advantage for the bank. That’s business enablement, right? Well, that’s beyond business enablement, that’s business identification, compliance, having that deep understanding of everything that’s going on not just in a single business line, but everywhere throughout the entire an organization that has tremendous value, plus the Industry Insight that a compliance officer has to have in understanding enforcement actions, what other banks did wrong. There’s a lot of thought that a really great compliance group can have on like, well, how can we turn this negative into a positive and do something better at our organization?

Ben Pankonin 32:44
How do you begin to understand the new the new opportunities from compliance when you’re evaluating a new technology or a new business case? How do you stay on top of understanding what that what that could do for the bank? Yeah,

Charles Lefevre 33:03
I think, you know, for me being first line of defense now, it’s, it’s a little bit different. But I know, Dena has told me very recently that, you know, she, she thinks that the opportunity for compliance officer is being a technologist, that understanding these two, understanding what we’re trying to deploy in a deeper level, that’s the requirement, but the the education and the training that needs to go around that. That’s, that’s a lot. So that takes greater partnership from stakeholders, like operations like it, to help really everybody understand it. So those who are experts at many things that get to wear many hats and see see all these things that they’re involved early on. So they can bring those things to the table. I mean, I will say that piece over and over again, getting compliance and any risk or business owner involved early into a project or process change is going to generate the best final results, because you’re going to understand it a whole lot better in the beginning, rather than having everybody involved at the end, and having to re engineer it, because guess what, it’s now it’s non compliant. We’re solutioning for non compliance now, instead of solutioning, for the right process. So being involved early, being partners, very early on in these changes in helping each other understand what this technology is doing. That’s what creates those opportunities. There’s identification of gaps that we can utilize in a much better way.

Ben Pankonin 34:37
I think you identified a lot of different things to unpack there. One was early to the process, right? Another was identifying what what the business objectives are. And the third one I know you and I talked about a little bit was this sense that sometimes we have this moment of, I worked at a business for a while and that The person who sort of reviewed all of our paperwork, when you turn it in had this mentality that would sort of say, Hey, you got to get this done. Like you missed something, right? Like, there’s sort of this moment where they’re like, that was the pride for her in her role was was finding that moment when somebody missed something. It was kind of like an an auditor moment every time. And I think that’s the part where oftentimes, you’re, what you’re advocating for is turning that process. So we’re not identifying this sort of like, moment later. Yeah. Yeah.

Charles Lefevre 35:37
He said, suddenly, that negative feeling becomes the gotcha. Right, like, Oh, right, I found I found that you didn’t check this box, or I found that we didn’t do this gotcha. Right, whether or not that’s what’s intended or not, that’s what it it quickly turns into that, that early partnership and help, it gets rid of gotchas every time because they’re your partners in crime at

that point,

I mean, honestly, you know, when the first line and second line get together and do some really good stuff, you the third line really need that audit really needs to be worried. But now Honestly, it helps the process when you have the person who’s in charge of quality control. Even looking over your shoulder before you go to live or beta, saying, Oh, we forgot this, don’t forget, this is really important to make sure that, you know, I’d rather in your example, and not be that paper form, right? That the automation made sure that you couldn’t continue on to the next phase, without clicking that box. Because that box needs to be clicked, it’s really important that we gather this information. That’s awesome, right? That’s where Awesome work happens when that person is helping actively in the project. Because you’ve you’ve asked them to be part of it. Right? You haven’t said stay back and wait till I’m done. And then we’ll get you involved.

Ben Pankonin 36:58
So a lot of your advice here has been for compliance officers and how to do their role and think about compliance in a better way. What would be your advice for marketers to do their job better? as it pertains to this relationship?

Charles Lefevre 37:19
Knowing being more knowledgeable about compliance in general? So at AB marketing school, when I teach compliance, the first thing I do is I i deputize? Everybody is as Junior compliance officers because, right, just like I’m talking about the first line of defense, the second line of defense, right, compliance lives in that second line. The front line is that first line, the mark marketing is the first line of defense. That means that they need to understand compliance regulations, really not just as good as a compliance officer, but one tick down. Because it’s their it’s their risk that they’re managing, that they we all should want to have ownership in this and understand what our obligations are to making a compliant institution and following the rules. That’s step one. And I’ll this spans beyond just marketing, right sales and everyone else, that ownership that I want to get it right, let me let me learn so I can deliver a near compliant or 100% compliant product to compliance for review. That’s what I think we all want. Because guess what that generates? quicker turnaround, right? less friction between departments, because we have this mutual understanding of we’re all working together, and I am I second line compliance officer, I’m going to get it delivered to you much faster, if I just have one wording change, right? Or I called the one 800 number, and we typed three instead of nine, right? That’s the value that we really want to get out of these relationships. And it takes ownership at the marketing level, to say I am responsible, in many ways for compliance.

Ben Pankonin 38:59
Yeah, well, I like that because you know, even you know, when we talk about a bigger picture of compliance, you know, outside of advertising, a lot of times, you know, the riskiest position is a frontline position for a bank, right? If we’re if we’re looking at where compliance as an individual can often break down at everyone has has a role to play in that compliance piece. So I think that communication and culture development is extremely important.

Charles Lefevre 39:29
When we talk me to it from an experience perspective, you know, marketing and Ops, you know, we talk about first call resolution, right? It’s the same theory, if it’s good for an external client to have that first call resolution, it’s gonna be really good for an internal client to have first call resolution. So if that really takes a lot of ownership internally to say I need to know my stuff, I need to be able to deliver a good product because I do want them to be able to give me the answer, when I call them the first time rather than have say bad Let me get back with you. This is really complex. And I don’t know anything about it, and you haven’t done any research on it.

Ben Pankonin 40:06
Yeah, yeah. So when we when we think about this sort of compliance role breaking into so many other areas, what’s your connection? how you felt the connection between compliance and your new role in a customer experience?

Charles Lefevre 40:26
Yeah, it’s, it’s been. So it’s been a growth piece for me, obviously, and for the organization. And I will be the first one to admit to that. I’ve had to reevaluate some of the ways that I approach things because I’m not the compliance officer, right. So sometimes that makes for a little bit of a little bit more friction between compliance. And I, today from an experience perspective, because I’m trying not to be compliance, and they definitely still are. So it’s understanding that first, right that we’re, we’re going through a change, we’re doing some new stuff. And that we we have to rebuild some of these relationships, and making sure that we’re all on the same page, and understand what the strategy is. And that’s been the best part, right? Having a partner who knows what the strategy is, that’ll pat me on the head when I need to be patted on the head and redirected into the right direction. I think that’s really been an amazing experience for me. But you know, it’s, it will continue to go down new paths, as we think of new ways to do business. Because banking, I think, we’re always at the we’ve always been at the forefront of technology, right, ATMs and everything else. And when they actually came out to what they are today, that takes a lot of innovation. What I think we’re all trying to accomplish, or many of us are trying to accomplish from an experience perspective, that’s going to take a lot of discussions with compliance. Even from our recent example, that that I’ve had is we wanted to transform a limited service drive up only branch to have an ATM. So no, no more Teller, there was a security nightmare, all this stuff, it made business sense for us to do this. We went to put the ATM there where, where a video teller would be present. I needed in and our compliance area has been fantastic at talking to our regulators about what we’re trying to accomplish. And the definitions of the law of a manned institution. What does that mean? And where do we understand this to, you know, from a, a federal regulatory perspective, where we’ve gotten to really some great understanding of you know, what this technology will work from an experience perspective to replace a person, it’s not a branch closure, right, all of these things, it’s taken a lot of understanding in from our compliance area to really know where what we’re trying to achieve, so they can best defend us and explain our position to our regulators to move a lot of this stuff forward.

Ben Pankonin 43:05
Yeah, that’s a that’s a fantastic, you know, challenge to be able to bring, you know, a compliance, a depth of compliance knowledge to that, you know, that front end experience, I think that’s a phenomenal area. You know, how does that started to impact when you’re thinking about the, you mentioned, Tammy was bringing to you reviews as a voice of the customer? What else has impacted that voice of the customer into compliance? and back and forth? We had somebody actually actually had asked a little bit earlier, how do you make sure those relationships are all growing closer together? And I think that’s a great way to address her question is, how do we how do we kind of bring that together?

Charles Lefevre 43:58
Yeah, I think that making sure that it’s harder today, although I’m I’m in one of our operations centers, many of our employees are are not including our marketing and compliance teams. So you miss out today on those watercooler discussions that build that relationship, that we can talk about these things, and not necessarily in a structured environment, and be more ad hoc. So today, right, we have to be a little bit more structured with building these relationships, or at least what we found. And I think that we found success in it. And having that, you know, Dina and I have a weekly stand up to talk about what’s going on. What are we what are we working on making sure that they’re part of it, and really just advancing our change management processes to that we have structured calls about products and projects, that compliance marketing operations everyone’s involved in. So we are continuing to build that relationship and have that interaction. moment. So everyone’s paying back and get back on the same page. And like I said, we did during COVID, to say, you know what, I need to take this offline with you. And, you know, we can have a quick chat about,

Ben Pankonin 45:12
like, What are you trying to do? Are you serious, this is what we’re trying to accomplish.

Charles Lefevre 45:14
And we’re doing it in, in two weeks, right? Those things happen, they happen differently. Because she’s, you know, they’re not right next door to me today. But we have to make that space to have that, make sure that we smooth over those little bumps in those potential pitfalls of relationships between compliance and everybody else.

Ben Pankonin 45:36
Like that. So you know that I think the relationships internally are so profound and so important. I also want to ask you, because I know it’s, it’s some passions of yours, and fidelity’s is how do we begin bridging that with our community? And when we think of, you know, all of the, you know, compliance challenges, CRA, things like that, that that come into play, but also, you know, your, your mantra as a bank is here for good. I’d love to hear your perspective on that. Yeah, if the

Charles Lefevre 46:14
the best thing that we do, you’ve pointed out to, again, is the voice of the client, and understanding what our community needs are. So talking to our clients help us understand what what do they really need? What are they trying to what are they trying to accomplish? And a tremendous amount of time is spent talking not only to consumers, but also businesses and other organizations to have a full 360 understanding of our community is really in need of small business loans, in affordable housing. Right, that we know that because we vetted the conversations, right, our regulators didn’t tell us, we’ve taken that opportunity to make sure that we understand it. And you know, we have seen a really this, I like to say that there’s, you know, some sort of Magic Quadrant here, but they’re pure philanthropy and pure business, somewhere in the middle. There is a social and economic benefit. So that social and economic benefit in the middle is not created through just happenstance. It’s through understanding what the needs are, and then delivering on it, right, being an expert on those needs, and making sure what you’re doing is aligned back to it. Not just pure philanthropy, of just giving money, and just being in the community, you have to be of the community and delivering on the things that that the community actually needs. And that’s what we do every day. And we’ve literally created products around this entire sense, whether it was recently a compliance driven new affordable housing product that had ideas around how do we reevaluate the underwriting process for a low and moderate income client that is going to be different than others, and why we should do these things to benefit the community in need of affordable housing, you know, all the way to building a, a, an account that is specifically for nonprofits, where we can make sure that we’re giving back to them, the people who are doing business with us to make sure they can continue doing the good that they that they’re doing in the communities that we serve.

Ben Pankonin 48:29
Yeah, I think this is a great way to position that. It’s not always a pure philanthropy. And it’s not always a pure business driver. But somewhere in the middle is that balance that we strike a lot of times, I’ve brought it up a number of times in conversations where, you know, often when we look at large, big box retailers, we see their commitment to philanthropy. In at the checkout counter, where we’re asked if we want to round up, or whatever those sorts of opportunities are, that oftentimes it isn’t even there entirely their philanthropy, sometimes they’re providing some level of matching it in those equations. But when it’s marketed Well, when it’s carried forward, we see that blend of commerce and, and social good, that really come together to provide a really strong business driver. And I think sometimes I feel like compliance has blinded us to that to the business opportunity, because CRA has been kind of pushed at us. Right. You know, and I candidly, I’ve can’t be candid on a webinar, but, you know, the,

Charles Lefevre 49:43
I’ve definitely had people in banking, tell me before you know what, if you’re striving for an outstanding en CRA, you’re probably you know, not worried about your bottom line. And I think that we as an institution have have experienced the exact opposite As we have elevated our levels in CRA, which were not an overall outstanding, but we do have outstanding ratings within our community development, portions of our CRA examination, we’ve seen our profits and our assets grow. Since that time, I think that there’s a big correlation between those two things. Because, honestly, prior to, to this peer for good thought process and understanding and re evaluation, our mission, fidelity was more pure philanthropy as a as a mutual, and it was a less robust institution than it is today. As we’ve moved that toward how do we align philanthropy with business, we’ve seen the growth, we’ve seen the benefit of it. And if that’s something that makes all of us extremely proud, because our profits go back into the organization that goes back out to the communities that we serve.

Ben Pankonin 50:58
That’s a wonderful way to picture it. And I think you’re right, there’s isn’t just a this sort of, Hey, I wonder what happens if we give some money away? I think when we’re really intentional about it, and we see where that impact is happening. And it aligns with all of the business objectives. We have some great opportunities. Charles, I’m really excited about this role that you’ve taken on in the chief experience officer. And knowing some of the rest of your team. It feels like fidelity bank is really positioned for a lot of growth in the coming years. Would you say you feel that a lot being a part of the organization?

Charles Lefevre 51:44
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. We this year alone, we’ve grown 200 million in assets, which for us is a 20% increase in our asset size. So it has not been just again, through through chance, it has been through this really, everyone rowing in the exact same direction that is focused on our clients being client centric, and understanding what we’re trying to accomplish for our communities. I don’t think that we would have had this opportunity to grow, if we would not have made these changes, which has taken a lot of thought process from our senior management team and our board, but especially from our CEO, Chris Ferris, just his his leadership and thoughts around what we should be doing have really pushed the organization forward quickly.

Ben Pankonin 52:37
Well, Charles, thank you so much for all of your thoughts. today. It’s been profound. I have a lot of notes just from our conversations back and forth. I know I’m gonna end up watching this one again, to review it. Just because there were a lot of really great nuggets of truth in there. And I hope everybody who’s listening, that that’s something that they feel free to share throughout the office, in an effort to break down silos for institutions across the country. So Charles, thanks so much for your time. Any any parting thoughts for our group?

Charles Lefevre 53:15
No, I mean, I think everybody, we’re, we’re, this has been a crazy year. So I think it’s a great opportunity to make a change in the 2021 if if folks aren’t doing these things that we’ve talked about, to continue to break down the silos because we’re just going to keep doing great stuff in the community. And I think that that’s a, an exciting time to make sure that we’re pushing things forward. But Ben, I appreciate the opportunity. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you today.

Ben Pankonin 53:45
Hey, thank you so much, Charles. Have a wonderful holiday next week and a great rest of your year.

Charles Lefevre 53:53


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