Wolters Kluwer Financial Services hosted its 15th annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium last week. If you’ve never been to or even heard of the Colloquium, the unique event is an opportunity for senior compliance executives at financial services organizations to discuss their most pressing consumer compliance and risk management concerns with top regulators and other industry leaders.
This year’s event, located in Baltimore, featured Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez, who heads up the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) Civil Rights Division, as its keynote speaker. Perez’s speech focused on the DOJ’s ramped up fair and anti-discriminatory lending investigations and set the tone for the rest of Colloquium, during which regulators repeatedly told attendees their oversight efforts were expanding and intensifying.
Noticeably present, were regulators from the newly-formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), including the CFPB’s assistant directors for Fair Lending and Large Bank Supervision. The latter told attendees listening to one panel session that the bureau plans to work not only with federal banking regulators but also the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Trade Commission in making new regulations and enforcing them.
The message from Colloquium was clear – regulators are increasing their scrutiny of financial organizations’ compliance with existing requirements in addition to the new ones that will soon be implemented under the Dodd-Frank Act. To ensure organizations are ready to meet the new standard of compliance, according to numerous regulators in attendance, they must be proactive in their compliance and risk management efforts, integrating them into their business workflow and involving upper management as part of the process.
And while many of Dodd-Frank’s implementing rules are yet to be determined, they can be prepared for by putting such a compliance and risk management program in place right now. To paraphrase a chief compliance officer with one of the nation’s largest banks during his Colloquium panel, “We may not have the books yet, but we can sure start building the bookcase.”
If you’re interested in attending next year’s Colloquium and would like to find out more about it, please visit www.CRAColloquium.com.