Compliance is a mandatory pain

Most often, compliance projects are perceived as a mandatory pain. The strict minimal effort is spent to comply with what is required by the regulator. Even if those projects are categorized as mandatory, they are not dragging the same kind of attention as revenue generating projects. What matters is that those projects are completed, costing less as possible.

This behavior impacts the way those projects are managed: instead of looking wider, trying to generate value mobilizing best business contributors, those projects are treated in a narrow view, which of course (no magic !) is not bringing any value. Therefore money is spend just for the sake of being compliant.

There is always something positive in a change

It is said that there is always something positive to be found in any change, even in one enforced by regulators. Therefore, one could also find some positive aspects to those mandatory projects which could also bring value and not only costs.

Let's take an example to illustrate what is said above: Business Continuity Plan. This is a mandatory plan that banks have to elaborate and maintain in order to ensure continuity of their businesses in case any type of problem (strike, power outage, flood, IT outage, metropolitan issue).

BCP is rarely a core process

Even if past has unfortunately shown that such worse case scenarios were not science fiction (9.11), putting this in place is still considered as a mandatory pain by many actors.

This attitude reflects in the way those projects are managed: not considered as core, they are often delegated to a team outside the business and communication and mobilization of this theme are pretty poor. The plan is usually quite basic with little value added and testing, which has to be done on a regular basis, is executed poorly, no one fully understanding what is meant to be done.

Stepping back for a while, one could think of positive outcomes coming from a BCP process : a sound BCP process means that the whole company is sustainable, being able to face major problems, and that customers can safely leave their money in their account without risking to loose it or not able to access it anymore. An outstanding BCP plan can be more than a cost; it can also bring a competitive advantage in communicating on this topic internally and externally.

Sustainability should become a key value

Bringing sustainability as a key value for the company means that internal and external communication will include that theme and that BCP projects will become visible not only because they are forced by regulators but also because they become core business. This will generate a stronger involvement from all parties, more ideas, a smarter plan and a better use of resources.

Instead of being seen as separate, those processes becoming core will also transform the way business is operating. An example of thinking more globally could be that instead of having a separate local provider substituting to the original one in case of emergency, one could think of sharing other existing resources located abroad, reshaping the regular process so that daily operations are shared among the two locations. At the end of the day, sustainability and processes are improved, potentially without generating additional costs.

Of course, this is a basic example, just to illustrate the benefit of considering sustainability and compliance more generally not as being aside but part of core business.

Better for the banking industry to anticipate this move as sustainability is more and more becoming a key topic for regulators. The ones making the move first will be the only ones getting benefit from it.