I have the distinct privilege of representing Compliance Resource at this year’s ABA Regulatory Compliance Conference (RCC) in Nashville, TN.  I thought it may be nice to provide you a series of blog articles written from the perspective of a first time attendee.  I hope that you enjoy sharing in my simultaneous excitement and misery!

I left Louisville, Ky at 7:00 AM Sunday morning.  That is earlier than I am typically up and moving, but judging by the schedule I have planned for the week, it will be more of the norm!  Once I arrived in Nashville, I checked my bags at the front desk of my hotel and ran across the street to the conference center.  I knew it was going to be massive, but I was not prepared for the size of the venue or the massive crowd!  I am but one of a record setting crowd that has been reported to be over 2,000 bankers and consultants.  I took a little bit of time to get the lay of the land and I’m thankful to report that there is definitely an adequate amount of signage and arrows all over the Music City Center.  Now, with my badge in hand, I was ready for my first session.

What better place to dig in than HMDA, right?!  My first session was “New HMDA Data Implementation and Lessons Learned” with presenters Rick Freer, Kitty Ryan and David Dickinson.  This session was an hour and thirty minutes, but as all of you know, it probably would have been better suited as a full day (full week?) program.  They packed a ton of information into this session and they moved quickly.  As someone without a background in HMDA, my head was spinning with exemptions and exemptions for exemptions.  I tried to pull at least one quote from every session that I’d like to share with all of you, and my favorite from this session belonged to David Dickinson.  If you don’t have the time to do it right, you will find the time to do it TWICE!”

With thoughts of HMDA swirling through my head, I made my way to a session about Proactive Management Systems.  “If Everything is a Priority – Then Nothing is a Priority” was presented by Gary Pacos, Samuel Burruano and Andy Dell.  This session started off hot with a couple of clips of Michael Scott from the Office and was filled with a ton of examples of way that you can get out in front of issues that may arise in the Compliance department.  One takeaway from this session was that as Compliance professionals you shouldn’t get used to saying “no”.  Dig in, find out why they are presenting something to you and attempt to find a way in which you may be able to say “yes”.   You do not want to become the “No Department”.

LUNCH TIME!  Lunch was a welcomed break from filling my head with all of this knowledge.  They provided box lunches for everyone and it all ran smoothly.  There wasn’t much of a line and everyone was able to eat and make it to their next sessions in time.  Two hours went by much more quickly than I would have thought it would!

Following lunch, I made my way to my next session which focused on ADA accessibility.  “Website Rehab: Disclosures and Accessibility in the Digital Age” was presented by Derek Featherstone, Charles LeFevre Jr. and Sharri Logsdon.  The title of this program was a little misleading as it dealt with much more than just your website.  They spoke on everything from ways to make your website more inclusive all the way to making your branch more accessible to everyone regardless of disability.  Sharri Logsdon even spent some time talking about how her bank had worked with the autism society in her area to make their branches an autism friendly environment.  There were some items in this session that changed the way I think about accessibility.  We all want accessibility features.  You want to be able to watch videos with closed captions on Facebook, or we want our phone to vibrate for a text instead of making a loud noise in one of these sessions.  These are things that those of us without a disability WANT, but they are very similar to things that someone with a disability NEEDS.  When you develop to make things accessible for everyone, it makes for a better experience for everyone…not just those who NEED it.  Accessibility is the outcome of the inclusive design process.

My final session of the day was the Three Lines of Defense roundtable discussion led by Ryan Rasske and featuring Michael Little, Richard Harvey Jr. and Stacey Guardino.  The ballroom that they held this in was absolutely massive, but I suppose it needs to be with over 2,000 attendees.  This was filled with a lot of really great discussion about breaking the walls down between the three lines.  In compliance, you want to be invited to the party, but you may not be getting invited because they are afraid you’ll shut it down.  You need to find a way to be at the party early enough so that you can shape it in a way that they will want you at the next party.  They spoke a little bit on the “regulatory relief” on the way.  When asked what his elevator pitch to his CEO asking him to cut resources would be, Richard responded with this, “Our last few exams have gone well because of the things that we have put in place.  Now is NOT the time to back compliance down.”  The session wrapped up with Patti Blenden receiving the ABA Distinguished Service Award.  Patti gave a very entertaining, funny and enlightening speech to accept her award.  As someone who has never seen Patti speak, it is clear why she is regarded as such a great speaker.

I realize that much like my day, this post has become much longer than I expected it to but we are almost finished.  I wrapped up my day at the marketplace by perusing the booths and handing out business cards for a bit.  I made new connections, connected with people I already knew, and grabbed a couple of freebie items from booths.  Maybe I’ll win one of those Amazon Echos from the business card fishbowl.  All I know right now is that I am tired, my head is spinning and I’m ready to crash.  It was a great first day at my first RCC.

Brent Vincent
Director of Operations
Compliance Resource, LLC