Jeff Schmid profileMy teenage daughter recently asked me this question. It's a question I was not prepared to answer for someone not familiar with the banking industry, so it put me in an awkward position. And trust me, I have been in that position before, but it usually was a much tougher question… and the interviewer was usually someone from a federal or state agency, so making up the answer was not going to work this time.

What do you say to a teenager to explain your job? Especially one that is so technical in nature and so fraught with regulatory burden that it wouldn't even begin to make sense. But as a good father, I tried.

Me: "My job is to perform an assessment of a bank's concerted efforts to manage and mitigate overall risk and ensure compliance with Federal and State agency published regulations, all on an enterprise level." Clear as mud, but it covered the ground.

Daughter: "Okay, but what do you do?"

Clearly the first answer was not satisfying.

Me: "My job is to go into banks and help them so that they do not get in trouble with bank regulators."

Daughter (still not satisfied): "I still don't know what you do."

Me (speaking as calmly as possible): "I help banks with their policies and procedures."

Daughter: "That doesn't make sense. How do you help them?"

Me (speaking out of pure frustration): "I tell bank presidents what to do."

Daughter: "Oh. You're a consultant!"

Out of the mouths of babes, and she made it sound so simple. Yet the reality is, and those of you who manage bank risk and operations know this already, keeping compliant and competitive in today's regulatory environment means reallocating resources away from generating profits and serving your customers. Just like my initial answer, none of this comes easily or in a fashion that most people can understand.

So, what do I do? As Director of Compliance and Management Services of FIPCO, I am pleased to tell you that I lead a team of tenured banking professionals who are ready to serve you in many facets of risk, operations, and management. Our ShareFI team goes beyond "engage, review, and report." We design our services with you in mind to assess, document, track, train, and support you, for as long you need us.

If you'd like to ask me more about what I do, please contact me at 608-441-1220 or jschmid@fipco.com.

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Schmid is director – compliance and management services at FIPCO.