In the world of financial institutions, regulations and policies are ever-changing and it can become a challenge to remain abreast of those changes. New federal consumer financial laws are always being implemented, as well as revisions of existing policies to ensure market fairness and relieve other regulatory burdens from institutions. As a credit union, the subject is not to be taken lightly since after all, it deals with federal law. This is why it is extremely important to stay up to date and comply with all regulations and become familiar with any changes that occur. That said, not all changes should be seen as negative. In fact, sometimes your can benefit from new policies and revisions, but only if you pay attention to the dynamic nature of regulatory compliance.

Each year there are numerous amendments, agreements, and changes to policies that are made to benefit consumers as well as institutions. For example, recent amendments to federal requirements were made effective last October. Those amendments were implemented not only to revise inefficiencies on the consumer’s end but on the loan originator as well. Specifically, the amendment fixed an issue of different, overlapping disclosures that were given to consumers in the process of consumer lending. This change was made to consolidate the two disclosures and simplify the process on both ends.

In addition, some of these changes support an environment that gives the ability to grow. By encouraging growth, both consumers and small businesses are able to benefit through ways like membership reform (allowing admittance to people who were once unable to join), and as a result, gain access to credit that they would not otherwise have had. To go along with growth, regulatory advocates are looking to facilitate opportunities to credit unions through fair and impartial regulations. All of which create a level playing field.

Transparency and accountability are two other important topics in the financial industry and changes to policies are always being made to ensure the safety and protection of the public. The majority of financial institutions are not out to get anybody but for the ones that may be, these regulations hold them liable for their actions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ensures this by outlining a strategic plan of action to enforce regulations and create an economic environment where consumers can thrive. For credit unions, it is important to keep a positive and trustworthy image since members are part of a community. They trust you with their finances and should feel comfortable in doing so. Lastly, having that transparent feature for your institution is reassuring to members and even potential members for that matter.

With regulations and policies always changing, it is important to keep up with the times, as stated before. Becoming acclimated to the new laws and making sure you know what they mean isn’t your only hurdle. Implementing these changes into everyday operations can be a daunting process. At Oak Tree, we have been a provider of compliant forms and disclosures to credit unions for over 35 years. This means we stay on top of and when regulations change, we make sure to apply those changes to our forms. We would love to assist you with any compliance issues or needs. Feel free to contact us at ClientServices@oaktreebiz.com for any information you may need.