Compliance as Friend to Innovation? Yes, Suggests Paper

By CUToday.info12.04.2017

Compliance can actually be a friend to innovation, according to a new white paper.

Authored by Jason Skemp, a senior manager for regulatory compliance firm PolicyWorks, “Compliance Doesn’t Have to Stand in the Way of Innovation” is aimed at encouraging credit union executives and managers to rethink the role compliance can have in driving innovation forward.

“Let’s face it. Innovation is hard,” writes Skemp. “Incredibly strong forces challenge and frustrate those leaders seeking to innovate. Regulatory compliance often tops the list of burdens standing in the way of the creativity or change in mindset needed to foster true innovation. Yet, as the stories and perspectives contained in this paper show, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Among the examples cited by Skemp is that of a Midwestern credit union facing down a necessary retooling of its short-term lending product to meet NCUA guidelines. Finding a solution to the problem, Skemp said, is a form of innovation, albeit a less glamorous version.

“Regulatory compliance, while often viewed as a hindrance to innovation, can actually be a motivator. In some cases, innovation is forced upon a credit union because of new or updated regulation. In others, the need to develop fresh products or tweak existing ones comes about as the result of an exam finding.” 

The paper also includes tips for eradicating what Skemp calls the compliance stigma.

“Compliance officers will tell you their teams often suffer from the stigma of leading the ‘No Department.’ That’s because their guidance can often be viewed as stifling to new ideas. There are several factors that perpetuate this idea. With some adaptation of the way things have always been done, that can change.”

The full white paper is available for download on the PolicyWorks website.

Reprinted with permission from, a leading source of news and resources for credit union decision-makers.