The potential for a dramatic change in the direction and tone of bank regulation has not been this high since the peak of the global financial meltdown.
The high profile turmoil of the recent transition of power in Washington, D.C. has impacted a wide variety of industries across the U.S. corporate landscape. While disruptions in retail, manufacturing and technology have been front-page news, the impacts to the banking industry have been somewhat more subtle, and more clouded.
The most surprising element of the current environment is the breadth in the spectrum of potential outcomes. President Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric of decreased regulation would suggest a rollback of regulations such as Dodd-Frank and a downsizing of enforcement teams. However, this simplistic view is countered by the at-times populist tendencies of the current administration. Depending on the day or even the individual speaking, it seems almost as likely a possibility that the tide may shift towards a populist crackdown on banking, including increased scrutiny from government regulators.
Most critically for many compliance leaders, this all comes at a time of internal uncertainty within the compliance organization itself. Many groups have spent the last decade straining to grow fast enough to keep up with regulatory demands. As a result, compliance teams have not been able to staff up with the discipline and quality control they would normally demand.
An analysis of this combination of political turmoil and operational uncertainty indicates that compliance leaders have reached a critical assessment point.
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