Compliance folks love acronyms so much we apply them to just about everything we can. And, I’m thrilled to report, it’s time to talk about another one. Say hello to GRC!
Okay, so GRC is not entirely new. Standing for governance, risk and compliance, the acronym has been around for some time. But the initials are making their way into the minds of more leaders, especially as enterprises across industries realize the great benefit of bringing these traditionally disparate functions together.
The interconnectedness of governance, risk and compliance is a trend we’ve seen accelerate over the past several years within the credit union industry. It’s one of the reasons my responsibilities are changing here at PolicyWorks. You may have noticed my shiny new title: Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, which is really just a fancy way of saying it’s my job to recognize and help compliance folks act on transformative changes. The growth of GRC as a cohesive force is changing the needs of credit union compliance professionals. The change in my job is a nice reflection of the change in the industry.
It also presents a renewed opportunity to evaluate how these changes may impact a credit union’s ability to reach underserved markets. The complexity of the compliance requirements that credit unions face can often seem like a deterrent to providing fully inclusive services, especially to consumers facing challenging or unique circumstances. Modifying procedures and accounting for risk assessment adjustments to assist new consumers, thinking strategically about new products, and consumers access to financial products is important to PolicyWorks.
Both the importance of reaching underserved markets and the emerging emphasis on a more interdisciplinary approach, my PolicyWorks colleagues and I will be working with credit union compliance leaders to ensure the intertwining of governance, risk and compliance happens strategically, smoothly, and importantly, in a member-centric fashion. We’ll be helping credit unions answer questions like:
- How does this regulation or statute impact our overall risk?
- Do we have the right governance in place to follow through on our policies and procedures?
- What opportunities do we have to integrate technology to manage all GRC functions seamlessly?
That last question brings me to another exciting change for PolicyWorks and the credit unions we partner with. Just last week, we announced the acquisition of ViClarity, an international technology provider that developed an award-winning GRC tech platform. ViClarity’s full-service platform is fully customizable, so its GRC functionality can easily become just G, just R, just C or any combination thereof. So, if a credit union compliance team also has responsibility for governance, but not risk, the platform can be configured to meet precisely those needs.
And, here’s the really neat part... ViClarity has an expedited onboarding process like nothing we’ve ever seen.
Ironically, technology is likely a big part of why governance, risk and compliance are coming together. As consumers look to interact with highly regulated providers in new ways, a plethora of new risks have come to the forefront. The changing member experience is shifting the way credit unions – and really all providers in the digital era – have to safeguard their systems and processes. It’s a nuanced, but exciting, change, and one I’m really looking forward to confronting alongside our credit union partners.
When I first came to PolicyWorks, it was my privilege to work one-on-one with compliance officers and others to dig through the day-to-day of keeping their credit unions sound and helping members. I learned a lot in those early years (including the meaning of more acronyms than I dare to count). It’s a hardy and continual education I’ll definitely rely on as I work with some of those same partners to help credit unions strategically address their GRC needs.