5 Ways Strategic Advisors Help Community Banks and Credit Unions Improve IT Planning
The day-to-day responsibilities of managing the IT network administration, compliance efforts, and security measures for a community financial institution have grown to be a cumbersome, challenging, and often inefficient process. It is likely that there is not enough people and resources on the team to manage the multiple solutions and responsibilities.
To help combat the limited staff issue, many community banks and credit unions turn to managed services providers that have strategic advisors who act as facilitators and trusted partners to guide technology committees and provide tools to address financial regulatory governance. These advisors have a wealth of banking IT expertise and are knowledgeable regarding regulatory and industry issues faced by financial institutions today. They also serve as a convenient, single point of contact within the managed service provider, and assist by performing the following tasks:
- Attend Technology Steering Committee Meetings
Participating in regular steering committee meetings enables the strategic advisor to interact with decision makers and help with deliberation, consideration, and recommendations on IT-related issues. They can help mitigate potential risks that are often overlooked while sharing the knowledge and insight needed to help move the financial institution in a positive direction.
- Assist with Strategic IT planning
Strategic advisors have a wealth of knowledge and insight into not only the banking and financial services arena, but the IT solutions needed for a financial institution to be successful. They help banks and credit unions develop a comprehensive plan to ensure the institution is implementing and utilizing the solutions necessary to meet its goals.
- Facilitate Responses to Pre-exam IT Questionnaires
The exam process has become a time-consuming endeavor. At the beginning of the exam process, the examiner typically sends a list of items they want to review; certain areas they plan to examine; and items they plan to discuss. This normally includes a list of questions the financial institution must prepare ahead of the review. The strategic advisor works with the bank or credit union to complete the questions to meet examiner expectations.
- Provide Updates on Current Trends in Compliance, Technology, and Security
The advancement of technology, online banking services, compliance, and regulatory requirements, have made the business of banking more challenging. Strategic advisors provide knowledge and information to help banks and credit unions stay abreast of all the updates and trends in the industry.
- Quarterly System Reviews and Assessments
Performing regular assessments helps the financial institution ensure all things related to IT network technology controls are working and up to date. It also serves as time for the strategic advisor to educate bank personnel on new or changing government regulations and expectations. This helps community banks and credit unions to remain in compliance and be better prepared for audits and exams.
With this type of guidance, financial institutions can gain deeper technology insights and enhance strategic IT planning. Strategic advisors act as an extension of the internal team while helping guide and advise the bank or credit union on initiatives that ensure success today and into the future.