Six Surprising Ways Technology Helps Credit Union GRC Teams in 2020

Six Surprising Ways Technology Helps Credit Union GRC Teams in 2020


You’d be hard pressed to find an area of life not impacted by technology. The converging disciplines of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) are no different. Even as managing these critical aspects of operations becomes more complex, the injection of technology simplifies the day-to-day duties of GRC pros within the movement.

Here are just a few of the ways software, systems and tools are helping GRC teams in 2020:

Eradicating blind spots

Software that allows a single view of all aspects of a GRC effort – things like risk assessment, vendor management, compliance status – allows leaders to see ahead on issues that may be bubbling up. Another bonus of collaborative technology is that multiple users have a more clear understanding of their individual roles and how they fit with the larger effort. This sets employees up for success from Day 1, something all credit unions are looking to do in today’s highly competitive talent environment.

Maintaining continuity of information

Every credit union experiences turnover and the various pain points that accompany it. Technology, specifically cloud-based collaboration software, eases the burdens of records retention and onboarding. With a complete audit trail on all GRC activities, teams can more quickly and simply fill gaps until a new staff member is in place; and, getting new employees up to speed is much easier when a full history of the role is curated in one place. 

Nurturing a collaborative culture

As credit unions modernize operations for the digital era, desiloing of departments is a big part of the transformation conversation. Credit unions have realized tremendous benefit to bringing traditionally disparate functions – like governance, risk and compliance – under one roof. Of course, it’s one thing to reorganize to support collaboration; it’s another to function as a new team. Technology that centralizes activities ensures collaboration isn’t an empty buzz word, but a very real part of the credit union’s evolution for the future.

Keeping calm during COVID-19

A wave of new and/or clarified regulation struck the financial services world in 2020. Designed to ease the burdens associated with the spread of COVID-19, the rules were nonetheless a heavy load for GRC leaders. On top of that, credit unions are increasingly looking to capture more non-financial risks to the cooperative – from reputational to cyber risk. Add the general chaos of shutdowns, social distancing and remote work to the mix, and the pressure to manage GRC issues became seriously complex.

Here again, technology has shouldered much of the weight GRC teams have been asked to carry. In particular, snapshot reporting and real-time views on emerging risks and areas of non-compliance became a strong ally to GRC leaders struggling through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Moving faster

Technology has enabled GRC pros to reinvent even the most engrained of processes. Take emailing documents, for instance. Time consuming, clunky and often lacking in security (especially in remote environments), communicating this way is becoming unmanageable. Collaborative software allows for instantaneous sharing, real-time chatting and strong record keeping of edits, enhancements and discussions around any single issue or document. No more checking the spam folder for that email that never arrived, or going back and forth with a vendor who failed to attach a file. All communication and file sharing happens in a single (and secure) place.

Making better decisions

Iterative technology that evolves alongside the market realities facing a credit union has already changed the game for GRC leaders. Many of the solutions professionals depend on today are so valuable because they are nimble enough to change as their needs do. Users and developers co-create technology solutions that have real, meaningful impact on operations.

That’s today. Tomorrow looks even better.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and quantum processing of data are just a few of the fast-moving technologies helping enterprises of all types respond to – and in some cases, even predict – change faster. The GRC field is expected to experience the benefits of these advanced, and democratizing, solutions in the not-too-distant future. The intelligence to make more informed decisions, often in real-time, will catapult the profession into an entirely new sphere, helping credit unions become the best version of themselves for members.

Of course, technology is only part of the transformative picture coming into view for today’s GRC professionals and the credit unions they support. People are the main driver of change. In my next post, I’ll talk through the human aspects of selecting and integrating technology into a credit union’s GRC program.