September 25, 2019
As part of Wilson Bank’s orientation process for new hires, employees get a brief overview of each department at the bank over the course of a week. I remember getting the itinerary for orientation week when I started. Most departments were slotted to speak with us for an hour or two, but I noticed that an entire day was set aside to hear from our regulatory department. AN ENTIRE DAY!
Many months later, in the trainee program, I completed my rotation in Regulatory. I can easily see now that what I learned from them in orientation really was just a “brief overview” of what this department does.
Before my extended visit, I also had no idea how heavily regulated the banking industry is. It seems like everything a customer or employee touches is audited and reported, and reviewing and analyzing all that data (not to mention all the changing laws) requires a lot of manpower. It’s a big undertaking to make sure everything we do as a bank stays in compliance with the regulations set forth by our federal government, so I learned a lot during my time with Regulatory.
My rotation was broken up into four areas, and here’s a quick summary of what I took from each.
- Large Loan Credit Analysis: This group’s job is to complete loan request details, consisting of credit reports, financial statements, tax information, etc. They also review appraisals for loan collateral, and conduct annual reviews for larger loans that we house.
- Internal Audit/BSA: Our internal auditors conduct all kinds of audits, from surprise cash counts for teller drawers to computer logins. They also conduct full branch audits, which are really in-depth: this involves fully counting ALL branch cash, and analyzing everything to ensure that all operational tasks are logged and accounted for. During my stay, I had the chance to take part in several surprise cash counts and a full branch audit.
- Compliance/Critical Data: Through risk assessments, our analysts in this area ensure that we stay in compliance with various regulations and federal acts, with heavy emphasis on lending (credit cards, mortgages, etc.). The goals are to make sure we market and lend fairly and non-discriminately to everyone, and that we give back to the communities that we serve, which is done through efforts like our School Bank program.
- Loan Review: This team audits newly booked loans to ensure that loan data is keyed and documented correctly.
Besides observing and assisting with some of the day to day tasks in each of these areas, I also had a chance to attend some committee meetings. In those, I had a front row seat - occasionally at “the big table” - to see how our board, executives, and senior management team make decisions and keep our bank prosperous and strong.
When I started working at WBT, I couldn’t imagine why a Regulatory overview would consume an entire day in orientation. Now, I see that even an entire month isn’t enough time to grasp everything they do. This team does much more for the bank than I would have imagined, and they’re experts in their fields.
The department manager jokingly suggested that they should start issuing t-shirts for trainees that say “I SURVIVED Regulatory.” I didn’t get a t-shirt, but as I look at the bigger picture, I left Regulatory with much more – like having my eyes opened to the crucial roles of a great group of people, and some great relationships with coworkers I’d never met before.