Community banks and credit unions have grown accustomed to the strenuous review processes of regulatory agencies on their practices and procedures. These reviews are designed to help ensure the stability of the organization and the adherence to laws and regulations and are thorough in scope. As a result, preparing for an exam can be an extremely time consuming and stressful process to complete and, for many institutions, providing accurate responses to the review findings in a timely manner can be quite a challenge.
Upon the completion of the on-site visit, the reviewing agent will provide the financial institution with his or her findings in a review report or a notice. This report requires a response from the bank or credit union outlining the institution’s plan for correcting or improving specific findings from the review. Some proven tips for writing a response include:
- Make your responses clear and concise
- Respond directly to the finding and recognize any recommendations the reviewer suggests
- Outline specific actions that the financial institution commits to take to correct the finding
- Assign who is directly responsible for the implementation and oversight
- Exclude information that is not pertinent to the finding or its corrective action plan
- Provide a specific — and realistic — timetable for implementation.
Typically, a regulatory agency will not revisit the findings again until the next review. It is up to the financial institution to address each point and provide the proper documentation to show these items have been corrected before the next meeting. For example, if the bank’s antivirus was listed as out of date on the findings report, the institution would have to update each machine, run a report, and include this information in the findings package to be reviewed by the regulatory agency during the next visit. To complete the process efficiently, banks must keep up with who is in charge of each specific action item, when the item is due for completion, and which reports should be included in the findings package.
Organize Your Efforts to Complete Review Findings
Safe Systems’ Audit Trail application helps financial institutions efficiently respond to the reviewing agent’s feedback and ensure each finding is completed in a timely manner. The application allows the user to input review findings into the system, customize reporting fields, assign each finding to specific team members and include due dates to ensure all updates are completed. This allows banks to automate the review finding process as opposed to a manual process such as a spreadsheet, providing a more effective, centralized way to address this complex project.
The Audit Trail application also allows the user to attach relevant documents and reports to each finding, making it easier to verify that each item has been corrected. In addition to this, all documents are housed in one centralized location to avoid reliance on one person for documents and reports usually stored on an individual computer. The document library helps to reduce the risk of data loss due to computer failure and ensures that all important information is readily available to complete the findings package.
Responding to review findings can be challenging, time consuming and stressful! However, working with Safe Systems can provide your financial institution with the right tools to keep this process organized and meet regulatory expectations. Streamlining this process helps community banks and credit unions improve on IT and compliance procedures in a timely manner and effectively demonstrate how the institution has addressed the reviewing agent’s feedback.