Venable counsel Alex Megaris and partner Jonathan Pompan were quoted in the March 2017 issue of Collector Magazine on the importance of compliance management systems (CMS). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has emphasized the need for a robust CMS that includes at a minimum, management oversight, a compliance program, a system for managing consumer complaints, and a compliance audit. While there is not a one-size-fits-all formula for an effective CMS, it is important that a program be tailored to the company.
Megaris emphasized the importance of compliance staff being involved in all business decisions early on. "Often a seemingly small decision is made and isn't vetted appropriately for compliance risks, and the next thing you know you are facing consumer litigation or regulatory scrutiny," she said. Commenting on the importance of keeping an open dialogue with frontline collectors, Pompan added. "When you look at it from the bottom up, you can take the focus away from it being an edict coming from on high and ideally achieve buy-in from individual business units and employees at all levels."
Annual audits of a company's CMS are vital to maintaining a strong compliance program, said Megaris. "I recommend an annual risk assessment that continually looks at the state of compliance and identifies the projects that you intend to understand that year." Added Pompan, "Without a robust and tailored CMS in place, you might not even know what's going wrong until it’s too late…A good system will alert you early on that something could go or is going awry, and allow you to take swift corrective action as soon as possible."
On November 11, 2016, Megaris and Pompan presented "Enhancing a Compliance Management System in the Real World" at the 2016 ACA International Fall Forum & Expo where they discussed different approaches to ensuring that a CMS incorporates real-world legal and regulatory issues.