The Bank Compliance Officer: A Job Profile

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The modern-day compliance officer has replaced the traditionalists at community banks across the nation. For this new breed of bank compliance officers, compliance responsibilities have become fairly centralized, with most power given to a senior executive at the given bank's headquarters. The following article takes an in-depth look at the role of bank compliance officers today.

After a wave of corporate scandals, regulations have led to new auditing and governance rules for both public companies and banks. As such, the need for specialist bank compliance officers has become all the more important.

The Responsibilities of a Bank Compliance Officer

Broadly speaking, a bank compliance officer has to ensure that the given bank’s lending, accounting, and investment practices adhere to state and federal regulations.

Today banks have customized responsibilities for bank compliance officers according to their needs. However, the most common responsibilities for bank compliance officers are to:
  • Work as a liaison between the bank and regulatory agencies regarding compliance matters and investigations
  • Prepare and evaluate regular suspicious-activity reports
  • Study new banking products and services to evaluate risk
  • Inform and advise the senior management regarding proposed and pending regulatory changes
  • Update regulations and communicate the same to bank staff
  • Administer matters relating to codes of conduct, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, and terrorist-financing activities
  • Prepare training materials for anti-money laundering efforts
Bank compliance officers are generally responsible for the compliance of region-wide or nation-wide programs, policies, procedures, and plans with government regulations. Their job is to coordinate both with the senior management and operational staff regarding new and future compliance requirements.

The Job Requirements of a Bank Compliance Officer

A bank compliance officer generally has a bachelor's degree in a business-related field such as economics, finance, or accounting. However, employers today are increasingly looking for officers with a master's degree in business management, accounting, or a related field.

With banks required to follow stringent regulations, experience with and knowledge of BSA/AML issues is gaining increasing importance. In order to find a good bank compliance officer position, you will need related work experience and a good track record.

Bank compliance officers often perform duties as the BSA/OFAC officer, privacy officer, Community Reinvestment Act officer, and bank security and safety officer. The job may also include staff training related to new hires, compliance, customer service, and computer programs.

Meanwhile, technology is having a major impact on the banking industry, so it is important for today’s bank compliance officer to be up to date regarding the latest software.

The Job Outlook for Bank Compliance Officers

With the number of bank branches always on the rise, the job outlook for bank compliance officers is good. New regulations within the banking and investment industry have also opened avenues for compliance experts with specific training and experience in bank compliance.

For more comprehensive supervisory roles, one should plan on garnering as much relevant experience in compliance and comptrolling as possible. The average salary for a bank compliance officer today is around $85,000 per year.


Since the banking and financial industries are strongly tied to the overall health of the economy, in times of recession job seekers may have difficulty obtaining their dream jobs. But, if you have the necessary background and strong determination, you should be able to find a top bank compliance officer position.
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