Wolters Kluwer’s Compliance Solutions business has released the results of its annual Regulatory and Risk Management Indicator survey for the U.S. The highly anticpated survey shows a Main Indicator Score of 85, representing continued anxiety on certain risk and regulatory issues that demand close attention. However, there is a notable easing in the anxiety levels of U.S. banks and credit unions in managing their risk and regulatory compliance obligations as compared to the 2017 survey results. This year’s Main Indicator Score of 85 represents an 18 percent decrease from the 2017 score.
Despite the recent passage of regulatory relief legislation (S. 2155) by the U.S. Congress, 62 percent of respondents indicated they “do not anticipate a likely reduction” in regulatory burden in the coming two years.
“While we see a reduction in the Main Indicator Score, more than 60 percent of respondents continue to rate their compliance concerns as a ‘7 or higher’ on a 10-point scale. It is notable that risk management concerns also remain fairly high, and there is palpable apprehension about several top issues,including cybersecurity, IT risk and credit risk that respondents indicated will receive escalated priority and investment in the coming 12 months,” said Timothy R. Burniston, Senior Advisor for Regulatory Strategy at Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions.
The Indicator survey was conducted nationwide between August 22 and September 12, 2018 and generated 582 responses.
The calculation of the Main Indicator Score is based on several factors, including the number of new federal regulations, number of enforcement actions, and the total dollar amount of fines imposed on banks and credit unions over the past 12 months, and additional information provided by survey respondents. Burniston attributed the lower overall score to notable drops in regulations, enforcement actions and fines, particularly the number of new federal regulations issued during the 2018 survey period compared to the prior year.
“The reductions in these environmental factors influenced the final score considerably,” noted Burniston. “But persistently high levels of concern shown in six years of conducting this survey reinforces the recognition that compliance with rules and regulations is still very much part of an ever-evolving risk management landscape that continues to challenge institutions.”
Respondents from all of the market segments surveyed—including Banks, Credit Unions, and Savings & Loans—consistently cited managing changing regulations as a top concern. Of specific regulatory compliance challenges, complying with the looming Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) impairment standard was identified as the top issue, with 73 percent “very or somewhat concerned.” This was followed by fair lending (61 percent), UDAAP (60 percent) and state-issued regulatory requirements (58 percent). Additionally, managing Home Mortgage Disclosure Act obligations and implementing TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) regulations continue to be among the top compliance challenges cited. Forty-three percent of the respondents indicated they have seen a slight or considerable increase in examiners’ scrutiny of their fair lending programs, a level consistent with prior Indicator findings.
Over the next 12 months, the surveyed institutions said they are most likely to make “moderate to high” investments in updating policies and procedures (78 percent), strengthening risk assessment and controls (77 percent), and training their staff, board of directors and senior management (75 percent) as priorities. The responses indicate a continuing concern about compliance risk management in general and point to the specific areas regulators are likely to scrutinize.
Staff and investment resourcing continued to be pressure points, with respondents citing inadequate staffing for compliance (44 percent), manual compliance processes (42 percent), and too many competing business priorities (42 percent) as top obstacles to implementing an effective compliance program.
This year saw a slight uptick in concerns around accurately capturing additional data fields for the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) rules (62 percent), upgrading systems (39 percent), and analyzing data fields (21 percent) when compared to 2017 levels. However, institutions’ total time and costs invested in HMDA implementations and staff training dropped from the prior year, from 41 to 33 percent, which was expected.
Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions has had a busy few months, with a number of significant announcements. Just last week the business said it has has formed a strategic partnership with CRMNEXT in the U.S. to enhance deposit product innovation and functionality using Wolters Kluwer’s Expere Deposit solution. This partnership enables regional banks and credit unions to streamline the creation of compliant banking documents and services for customers, helping them transform their branch and digital banking experiences into a growth driver.
The “resulting integration provides a true in-branch, online, omnichannel solution that allows banks and credit unions to roll out new products faster and more conveniently,” Wolters Kluwer said in a statement. When used in conjunction with CRMNEXT’s work simplification and automation capabilities, Expere centralizes the management of compliance content, providing the tools financial institutions need to implement changes seamlessly.
Wolters Kluwer Compliance Solutions, part of the company’s Governance, Risk & Compliance division, is a market leader and trusted provider of regulatory compliance solutions and services to more than 2,000 U.S. banks and credit unions. The business helps these financial institutions efficiently manage compliance obligations tied to loan and deposit origination transactions and workflows, and gain the insights needed to focus on better serving their customers and growing their business.