GBA Member Profile

Melody Halloran
Compliance/BSA Officer
2015-2016 Chair, GBA Compliance Committee

As the bank’s top compliance cop, do you have a badge? In all seriousness, though, what do you think the key is to a good compliance program at a bank these days?
The key is to have the support of senior management. It is so important for senior management to be involved and for all of the employees of the bank to see that they support the compliance department. Also, the executive team needs to ensure that compliance is involved and considered when they conduct strategic planning, use compliance to their benefit and not just see it as a roadblock to their growth and success. The compliance program needs to be looking forward, and senior management needs to ensure that everyone with compliance responsibilities has access to the resources and training to make that possible. 

What was your first job growing up, and was there a lesson you learned there that you still use today? 
My first job was working in the front office at a small, local truck stop. While working there I learned to get along with a very diverse group of people! I learned to pay attention to what the customers were saying, to see things from their perspective and try to find a solution that would work for all of us. As the compliance officer for three separate banks, I try to do the same: see how complying with the regulations will affect each bank and try to find solutions that will work for them. Sometimes as a compliance officer, we tend to just look at what the regulations require of us and not at how our implementation of the regulation will affect our bank and the employees’ ability to do business. I try, I may not always succeed, to look at things from their perspective and find a solution that will work for all us. 

Did you begin your career at the bank in the compliance area, or did you move into the role from another part of the bank?
I actually started on the teller line. I have worked in customer service, loan operations and was a branch manager before I moved into compliance. When I initially began working in compliance our program was not very structured. I was very fortunate to work for a company that not only allowed me to structure the program the way I thought it should be, but provided me with all of the resources and support that I needed. 

What GBA resources do you find most helpful to you and your bank?
The Compliance Conference and Peer Group meetings are most  helpful to me. The annual Compliance Conference covers a wide range of subjects but does not keep the compliance officer out of the bank for an extended period of time. You also will have the opportunity to meet compliance officers from a variety of banks and pick up a lot of helpful information. The Peer Group meetings are smaller with focus on the current “hot buttons.”

When you are not at work, what do you like to do most?
Traveling and spending time with friends and family. I am actually heading to Machu Picchu, Peru with my sister two weeks after TRID goes into effect! I’ll be off the grid and unreachable by phone or email. I think I will be ready for that!