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Building a Culture of Compliance from the Top Down

Understand the Importance of Compliance in Your Organization’s Culture

Decades ago, the word “culture” mainly referred to the customs and beliefs of a particular society. Today, it also refers to the ways of thinking within an organization. While the concept of culture is relatively new to the workplace, its significance is more prevalent than ever. To a tech company like Abrigo, culture can mean employee Ping-Pong tournaments, quarterly events, club outings and happy hours. Some financial institutions enjoy these activities which help foster a sense of company culture. However, from a regulatory perspective, the phrase “culture of compliance” comes to mind.

The importance of culture comes straight from FinCEN. The first line of a 2014 FinCEN advisory reads, “Shortcomings identified in recent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) enforcement actions confirm that the culture of an organization is critical to its compliance.” Compliance truly is a shared responsibility, and a strong culture of compliance sets the foundation for the entire institution to succeed.

FinCEN Gave Guidance on Building a Culture of Compliance

In a world of high-profile personal liability cases such as U.S. Dep’t of Treasury v. Haider, compliance professionals know all too well how bright the spotlight shines on them. Beyond personal liability, their responsibilities impact the institution as a whole. As FinCEN indicated, shortcomings in AML programs can result in enforcement actions – something no board of directors wants to see.