Ten Steps for Strong Policies

Policymaking can seem more overwhelming than the regulatory changes that require it.

December 09, 2011
KEYWORDS board , compliance , ncua , policies
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6. Jump on the express

Communications such as NCUA’s Letters to Credit Unions are a vital resource for any credit union’s policymaking effort.

That’s because they may provide clarifying information about specific regulations, express concerns about compliance, issue warnings, or announce rule changes that will impact your policies and procedures.

Require each of your department heads to sign up for NCUA Express by visiting ncua.gov. This service will send NCUA communications, such as Letters to Credit Unions and Regulatory Alerts, directly to the inboxes of your staff, so there will not be an excuse that they didn’t receive them.

7. Use an examiner resource

Another tool set to aid in your policy construction: NCUA AIRES questionnaires. These will provide some insight into what examiners will look for as they review various policies and procedures.

You can access these publically available documents on the agency’s website.

8. Schedule an annual check-up

Just as your doctor recommends you see him or her at least once each year, so too, does NCUA recommend you schedule an annual check-up for your policies. In many cases, the agency isn’t recommending it—they’re requiring it.

NCUA mandates that credit unions review all incentive bonus, investment, member business lending, and security policies annually.

For all other major policies, the NCUA cites annual reviews as a best practice for safety and soundness.

9. Document, document, document

A simple scan of the language during a board meeting may be all your credit union must do to review a policy. There may not be any necessary changes or updates.

Be sure, however, that even these minor reviews are documented in board meeting minutes and inside the policy itself. Add review dates to the policy headers and add the updated documents to your policy manual and/or shared network.

10. Don’t wait to be told

Examiners operate under the premise that credit unions have no excuse for not being informed of the current rules and regulations. For this reason, they expect all policies and procedures to exist and to be up-to-date.

Don’t wait to be told your credit union is a missing a policy—unless, of course, you enjoy frequent visits from your friendly examiner.

JAMI WEEMS is senior compliance officer for PolicyWorks LLC and a frequent contributor to TheWorksBlog.com.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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