MainStreet Bank Overcomes Staffing Gap with Abrigo’s Advisory Services
Staffing is a significant issue impacting businesses across the country, and financial institutions are no exception. It is not atypical for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) departments to feel the pinch of a short-handed staff. BSA roles are typically challenging to recruit, and seasonal work increases exacerbate the problem. For MainStreet Bank, all of these challenges felt familiar.
MainStreet Bank's BSA Department is short-staffed
MainStreet Bank, a $1.7 billion institution in Fairfax, Va., had a tight-knit BSA team, and work hummed along smoothly, and there were very few gaps in the workload. However, when a team member left the department to pursue a different role, the BSA team was left short-staffed, with alerts piling up quickly. The hiring process began immediately to fill the position, but Ben Baboval, MainStreet's Compliance Officer, did not want to take any chances of falling behind on alerts. Baboval reached out to his contacts at Abrigo to discuss leveraging Abrigo's Suspicious Activity Monitoring Services (SAMS) to supplement their BSA staff in the interim as they searched for and onboarded a new team member.
Overcoming staffing challenges
Abrigo Advisory Services bridges the gap
MainStreet Bank contracted Abrigo's Advisory Services team to assist their staff with monitoring an average of 250 alerts a month. Abrigo moved quickly to address the needs of MainStreet Bank's BSA team and delivered on quality of work, speed, and methodology to meet the bank's high standards. Once approved, Abrigo quickly jumped right into the software to begin assisting.
"We are familiar with all BSA and AML software on the market, but obviously, there is a different level of familiarity when it comes to BAM+ that allows our team to surprise and delight our customers," said Josh Hawkins, Director of Financial Crimes Investigation Unit at Abrigo. Weekly calls with the Abrigo team ensured that communication was consistent between Abrigo's Advisory Services and MainStreet Bank's BSA department.
Before Abrigo's Advisory Services team stepped in to help monitor alerts, Baboval's team felt they were constantly playing catch-up from the previous month. With Abrigo's analysts' help, they could review alerts in real-time. Abrigo's team of experts gave MainStreet Bank the ability to get ahead of alerts while maintaining a high-quality standard. Abrigo's team also provided additional insights through best practices and scenario tuning. Advisors helped MainStreet find more efficient ways to run scenarios in their BAM+ AML software to reduce false positives and gave feedback on best practices they had implemented at other institutions. Baboval noted that Abrigo's staff went above and beyond alert triage to ensure complete system optimization. Baboval was also impressed by how quickly Abrigo's sales and implementation staff worked to extend MainStreet Bank's contract to ensure no service gap.
Thinking in a non-linear fashion allowed Baboval to solve the problem of an under-staffed BSA department while maintaining high standards. This solution enabled Baboval to take the time and care needed to recruit the right individual for his team. "We are committed to our customers. From software to consulting, we make sure to provide the types of solutions and services that fit the needs of our customers," Hawkins said. "I think many would be surprised at the breadth of our consulting services."