Compliance in the Age of COVID-19

Compliance in the Age of COVID-19

By Bill Hall

“The World Turned Upside Down” is both a wonderful song from the musical Hamilton and an apt description of the immense impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations. One area of a business where the impact may not be quite so apparent, but where a failure can lead to serious consequences, is the compliance function. Disruption of the activities of your compliance team can mean a potentially dangerous diminishment of oversight, assessments, monitoring, auditing, training, and other essential risk management and risk mitigation activities.

Every business is aware that the pandemic has caused significant negative financial impacts, uncertainty, stress, transition to new remote work environments, and an overall crisis mentality that touches every employee and every aspect of daily life. What may not be so clear is the fact that these impacts to your business may result in an environment of increased non-compliant behavior along with a lessened ability to detect and correct such behavior. To make certain that your company does everything it can to maintain a robust compliance function during a tremendously challenging time, here are six key elements for your business to consider:

  1. Compliance is not optional. This is a rule we live by at FinFit, and we clearly communicate it to all of our employees. It is vitally important to ensure your team understands that compliance remains a top priority regardless of the challenging circumstances. Make sure that all employees are clear on your organization’s expectations, and that the rules have not changed even as the world seems to be completely different.
  2. Test Audit. Not only should all monitoring, testing, and auditing continue on the normal schedule to confirm adherence to policies, laws, and regulations, any operational changes as a result of the pandemic should be added to the monitoring process. Short-term or emergency adaptations are vulnerable to compliance short-cuts and need to be carefully considered. Simply put, pre-pandemic monitoring processes are likely no longer adequate in this new and unprecedented operating environment.
  3. Account for the unique circumstances of a remote work environment. Even the most professional, hardest-working employees may be overwhelmed trying to juggle work with childcare issues, closing of schools and online learning, dealing with the technology essential to remote work, and the many other adjustments that have become part of life. Make sure your company is providing guidance on telecommuting issues such as protecting confidential information, appropriate use of company systems and equipment, procedures in the case of any sort of data breach, and reminders on the use of personal email, smartphones and computers for company business.
  4. Invest in appropriate technology. You may find that your technology dollars have been wisely spent, or you may soon be facing the costs of failure to make adequate investments in IT. Businesses need to make sure that employees can access the documents, information, and data necessary to do their jobs in a secure fashion. Compliance personnel are among the employees who need to be able to continue to access information just as they would in the office in order to conduct audits, monitor ongoing operations, and conducting investigations. As home networks are typically more vulnerable, you need to make sure that all this is done in a secure, compliant environment with adequate protections in place such as firewalls and multi-factor authentication. You should also make sure both the company and all employees are alerted to phishing and other attempts to access your systems, as the sense of urgency and the lack of face-to-face time make it easier to exploit a vulnerable and anxious workforce.
  5. Pay particular attention to customer-facing employees. In this environment, you may have shifted some of your employees’ responsibilities to handle large increases in customer service needs. When employees with limited training and experience move into an unfamiliar role – especially a role that involves dealing with customer inquiries – there is an increased possibility of mistakes, incorrect information, or compliance failures. Make sure you’re providing all necessary training, and increase monitoring and tracking of your customer service personnel especially when you’ve added personnel in response to increased customer demand. Regulatory authorities are likely to focus on issues involving vulnerable customers and you should therefore make sure you can spot and correct any issues in this area immediately.
  6. Closely follow legal and regulatory developments. Compliance personnel should be tasked with alerting your organizational leaders of new requirements in a timely manner. Regulators at all levels – local, state, and federal – have issued guidance and requirements on countless issues, and compliance needs to be informed and able to communicate these developments.

COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of your business and maintaining a robust and adaptable compliance function is essential to make sure the business manages and contains the risks arising from this disruption. Identifying and addressing the new risks in the pandemic environment will ensure your business is as financially fit as possible as we all continue to navigate business adjustments.

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Bill Hall

Chief Compliance Officer

Bill Hall serves as Compliance Officer for FinFit and is responsible for identifying, assessing, mitigating and monitoring all legal, regulatory, operational and reputational risks for the company.

Bill brings extensive legal and regulatory compliance experience to FinFit, primarily in the financial services industry. After beginning his legal career as an Associate Attorney with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge and Rice in Winston-Salem, NC, Bill had a 19-year career in the Law Department at United Guaranty Corporation in Greensboro, NC. At United Guaranty, Bill served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel, as well as International Group General Counsel.

Bill earned a B.A. degree, cum laude, from Davidson College and a J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Bill is licensed as an attorney in the state of North Carolina.

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Kristen Stringer

Vice President of Banking & Credit Services

Kristen Stringer came to FinFit in 2010 and has been instrumental in the development of the proprietary FinFit systems and processes. Kristen served as FinFit’s Director of Operations for 7 years before being promoted to Vice President of Banking and Credit Services. She is responsible for managing strategic partners including the Celtic Bank and Ares credit relationships, in addition to establishing new relationships in the sponsor bank market. Kristen also oversees the underwriting and credit areas and is involved with development of underwriting models and new credit products, expansion of credit offerings, auditing and compliance, and the overall performance of credit products.

Kristen holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in finance, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Old Dominion University. She began her career at HSBC Bank in the customer service and collections departments and later was responsible for process improvement and project management. She was selected to lead numerous special projects including a foreclosure avoidance project that liquidated over $2 million dollars in less than three months. In her spare time, Kristen enjoys photography and is an avid sports fan.

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David Kilby

President/CEO

David Kilby has been President/CEO of FinFit since its founding in 2008. He has grown the company from a single idea into the nation’s largest, most comprehensive Financial Wellness Benefit platform. Chosen as one of the top 100 companies to work for three years in a row (2014-16), FinFit pursues a mission of changing employees lives one employee at a time. Prior to FinFit, David led a multi-million-dollar financial institution holding company, where he was inspired to find a way to help employees get more financially fit. At KPMG Peat Marwick, Norfolk, Virginia, he worked with a variety of public and private organizations in a variety of industries including automotive, chemical manufacturing, consumer finance, managed health care, retail, real estate and wholesale organizations.

David received his CPA designation in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1991 and graduated from Old Dominion University. Today he serves as the President of the Ability Center of Virginia, a charity devoted to helping children and adults with disabilities serve productive lives. He is also an active member with the Young Presidents Organization, an active Board Member of Old Dominion University Business School, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Jennifer Creech

Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

Jennifer Creech brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to FinFit. Jennifer is accountable for the overall sales initiatives, client acquisition and strategic relationships. She is also responsible for client retention strategies and the development and management of sales agents.

Jennifer previously served as VP/Director of Marketing at Bank of Hampton Roads/Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc. As an officer of the bank, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the bank’s sales and marketing programs and was a member of the Retail Leadership Committee to expand the retail banking division.

Jennifer is currently the President of It’s A Surprise and offers support to various community charities.

Kristen Gaskins

Director of Client Engagement and Awareness

Kristen Gaskins brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to her role as Director of Client Engagement and Awareness. She leads a dynamic team of onboarding specialists whose focus is ensuring employers understand the benefits of FinFit and are ready to roll it out to their employees. She works closely with the FinFit marketing department to craft and measure the omnichannel onboarding experience, working to retain and engage existing partners, clients and employees.

She’s a Virginia Beach native who enjoys travel and cooking, just not at the same time.

Cliff Kiel

Senior Vice President, Sales

Cliff Kiel brings almost thirty years of industry experience to the sales team. He joined the company in 2017 to oversee new revenue channels for the business. Cliff is based in Atlanta, Georgia, overseeing sales and business-to-business prospect marketing. Cliff leads the broker and employer growth strategies for the company.

Prior to his tenure with FinFit, Cliff served four years with Purchasing Power as Vice President, and General Sales Manager. He was instrumental in onboarding many Fortune 100 clients. Under his tenure leading the sales team, the company's revenue doubled and he recorded record sales years for the organization. Prior to Purchasing Power, Cliff worked for leading health and welfare companies such as MetLife, United HealthCare, CVS Caremark, Cigna, Value Options, and Alere.

He earned his BA degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta, and his Certificate in Healthcare Management from the State University California, Irvine.

Cliff has been a featured speaker at the annual Voluntary Benefits Conference and many other leading conferences.

Paul Grosch

Chief Technology Officer

Paul Grosch is a seasoned technology executive with over 20 years of experience growing business through software development, infrastructure management, data analytics and customer support. He brings a wealth of experience with strengths in areas such as technology process standardization, measurement and disciplined innovation. Paul has worked across a broad spectrum of industries including construction, retail, hospitality, financial services and Department of Defense.

Paul joined the FinFit team in Q3 2018. Prior to joining FinFit, Paul served as the Vice President of Information Technology for Gold Key Hotels and Resorts, the largest and most demanding hospitality developer, owner and operator in the Mid-Atlantic. Paul led the technology team through a series of rapid growth, innovation and exit cycles. This included the $168MM sale of Gold Key Resorts in and recent sale of oceanfront Hilton properties valued over $87MM. Paul has also led state of the art development projects within Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense.

Paul Grosch obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Computer Science from Old Dominion University. He holds an MBA from University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified IT Service Management Expert (ITIL).

Pete Ostberg

Chief Operating Officer

Pete Ostberg joined FinFit in 2017 after spending 20 years in the payroll industry. Pete is responsible for overseeing all business operations, ensuring FinFit has effective operational procedures in place. He also conducts market research and analyses to strengthen FinFit’s product portfolio by adding new and exciting offerings to help employees become more financially stable. Pete is focused on growing the number of valued partners and ensuring the successful implementation of FinFit with each one.

Prior to FinFit, Pete worked at Paychex in a variety of roles. He has in-depth knowledge of tax payments, payroll, insurance, operations, business analysis, and product management. During his tenure there, he helped to strategically position new products as they were brought to the market. Pete has a degree in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and traveling.

David Hockstad

Senior Data & Financial Analyst

David Hockstad came to FinFit in 2015 and has led the development of FinFit’s custom underwriting algorithms and employee assessment questionnaire. As Senior Data and Financial Analyst, David is responsible for identifying portfolio trends and KPIs, implementing business intelligence tools, creating visual ad hoc reports, and enhancing predictive modeling capabilities. David also assists various departments in finding actionable insights in their data, be it understanding successful company demographics, employee contact methods, or customer propensity to borrow.

David obtained his Bachelor’s from Lee University. After graduating in 2012, he began his career at PNC Bank as a commercial underwriter where he was responsible for optimizing business cashflow and underwriting loans.

Kim Miller

Director of Marketing

Kim Miller joined FinFit in early 2018 to build their marketing department, re-energize the brand and establish FinFit as the industry expert. She is an experienced marketing director with a demonstrated history of developing brand identities, increasing brand awareness and creating optimal customer experiences. Skilled in strategic product development, content creation, user experience, cross-channel marketing and customer engagement, she is passionate about moving the business forward and establishing FinFit as the industry leader.

She started her career at Brunner, a national advertising agency, helping to create a digital footprint in the emerging space. She supported a variety of brands including Consol Energy, Cub Cadet, Longhorn, Aquafresh, WesBanco and Huffy, and worked in every discipline from project and account management to copywriting to site architecture.

She moved to Virginia in 2010 and joined Dominion Enterprises, working in the marine, automotive and powersports divisions during her tenure. She helped build and grow their marketing departments, create brand identities, develop sales processes and tracking capabilities, and drive the product development for both B2B and B2C audiences.

Brooke Saunders

Director of Human Resources

Brooke joined FinFit in early 2013 and focuses on key areas such as Talent Management, Employee Development and Training, Benefits, Payroll and Compensation, Business Strategy, Employee Relations and developing programs to increase employee engagement.

Brooke is a graduate of Old Dominion University and started her Human Resources Career at Robert Half International as a Staffing Manager in 2002. She worked there for 3 years and recruited, hired, interviewed, and placed administrative workers into office positions for her clients.

Brooke has years of experience in the hospitality field, where she served as both Human Resources Director and Resort Marketing Recruiter for large organizations such as Gold Key Resorts and LTD Limited. Her skills included the development of effective recruiting programs, handling all associate relations and counseling, tracking all worker’s compensation claims and other various HR functions to support the HR Manager.

Matt Fahy

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew Fahy serves as Chief Financial Officer for FinFit, with responsibility for the overall financial management of the company, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, credit and treasury functions and tax.

Matt brings extensive financial and operations management experience to FinFit, primarily in the technology industry. Before joining FinFit, Matt served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Global Services for AgilQuest Corporation, a Workplace Management Enterprise SaaS company. Prior to that, he served as CFO for Public Access Technologies, Inc. and QualityClick.com Inc. and oversaw the rapid growth of these Internet companies. Matt was also a Senior Manager for KPMG in the Information, Communications and Entertainment practice serving public and private media, entertainment and technology clients. Matt began his accounting career with Paul Scherer & Company, a boutique CPA firm in New York City serving Advanced Publications and Newhouse Broadcasting Corp., the largest privately held media company in the world.

Matt is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Accounting & MIS. Matt received his CPA designation from the state of Ohio in 1993.

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