GBA Member Profile

Ebony James
AVP, Compliance Analyst
Craft Bank, Atlanta, GA
Member, GBA Compliance Committee
Published Dec. 14, 2023

Q: What led you to a career in banking?
A: My first job was as a teller for Arrowhead Credit Union in California. During that time, I was going to school to obtain my degree in criminology and the hours were conducive to my schedule. I had an eye for fraud and identifying counterfeit money, drivers’ licenses, documents, etc. (Of course, no one ever wanted to come to my teller window!) I developed a reputation for questioning everything. The credit union then posted a position in loss prevention because the investigators needed an assistant. Colleagues suggested I apply for this role as loss prevention coordinator. I assisted the investigators with pulling documents, doing research, putting things together and providing them with information they needed. After I started that role, it became a smooth transition from fraud to BSA to compliance. In my role as compliance analyst, I review policies and procedures and make sure we’re doing exactly what we say we’re going to do as well as following the laws the federal government has put in place. My investigative skills have come in handy.

Q: What was the most useful piece of advice you received in the early/formative years of your career?
A: “Go with your gut.” Throughout my life experiences, I’ve always had that gut feeling when something is good, or more often, when something wasn’t right. I operate with the philosophy to trust but also inspect.

Q: Tell us more about one experience you’ve had that exemplifies being a banker or your role at the bank.
A: During my time working for a financial institution in Mexico, I created an elder financial exploitation class. I taught the class in English with an interpreter translating to Spanish. There was a situation that came up where someone in the class realized they were being exploited, so we provided them with the tools for next steps. It was very rewarding to help people protect themselves and respond to situations where they have been victimized.

Q: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
A: I get up at 5:30 a.m. and ride my Peloton bike every morning for 30 minutes. I figure, why not spend 30 minutes exercising when I work eight hours a day? My son sometimes gets up at 5:45 and cheers me on.

Q: Pet peeve?
A: Cutting me off while I’m talking and non-active listening.

Q: Most used app?
A: Instagram

Q: TV show or series you love?
A: “American Greed.” I think people in compliance or fraud investigation should watch it. They tell true crime stories with forensic investigators and get inside the minds of the criminals.